There is good news and bad news on the gas price front. Gas prices are slowly falling, which is good. The bad news is that thieves continue to steal huge amounts of gas worth tens of thousands of dollars. With tighter security measures and surveillance since prices started spiking, how can the incidents of theft keep rising?
How much are gas thieves stealing?
Estimates put the amount of gas stolen just in the past couple of weeks at $150,000 as incidents of theft ramp up. Newsweek analyzed activity in all 50 states and has come up with examples of how thieves are pulling off these incredibly large hauls of gas and diesel fuel. Though happening throughout the country, we’ve picked four examples from Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and Colorado.
Last month in Florida, law enforcement said thieves made a homemade device to steal over $60,000 worth of gas from two different gas stations. They recently arrested six people. But in another Florida theft, four men stole almost 3,000 gallons of gas. Law enforcement officers tracked the men down and they have been arrested.
“Crackdowns at the gas pumps”
“Our law enforcement investigators, officers, and partners are working hard every day to protect Florida consumers and businesses from theft and other fraud at gas stations across our state,” Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried said. “Whether individuals are trying to steal fuel like in these situations or credit card data with skimmers, know that our department will continue to crack down on crimes at our gas pumps.”
Also last month, a theft ring in Colorado stole about 5,000 gallons of gas, with an estimated value of over $25,000. According to the manager of the gas station talking with KXAN News, there is a security video of the theft. Gas was pumped into box trucks he said. And he suggests the thieves rigged pumps with a remote control device.
In mid-March in North Carolina, more than 300 gallons of gasoline was stolen from a convenience store gas station. The estimated value is said to be over $1,500 from the single haul. Then last week, police in Charlotte-Mecklenburg made numerous arrests. Police say the thieves “had rigged gas pumps to distribute free gas,” but wouldn’t go into detail about how the rigging was done. The head of the gas theft ring is facing numerous charges.
Texas saw two incidents in a week
In Duncanville, Texas, the theft of 6,000 gallons of diesel fuel happened in one day. Then, about 1,000 gallons of gas was lifted from a Fuqua Express station down I45 to Houston. This also happened in March. Estimates put the value stolen at over $5,000.
These are not random individuals swiping a tankful of gas from a parked car. Organized rings are using numerous people for lookouts, creating diversions, or just shielding the activity with a second and/or third vehicle.