gastheft.com leading the fight against gas theft Random Fact: Nationwide, gasoline theft cost the industry an estimated $237 million in 2004. The average loss per store was $2,141 in 2004.


August 2nd, 2004: "Maryland woman who stole fuel ordered to stand outside gas station wearing sign" Full Story
"SALISBURY, Maryland - A woman who stole $4.52 worth of fuel was ordered to stand outside the gas station wearing a sandwich board sign that declared: "I was caught stealing gas." Sherelle Purnell obeyed the court order, although by the time she arrived 90 minutes late to her noon Friday sentence, the crowd of people that gathered to watch her had dispersed. "There were parents who came with their children, wanting to teach them a lesson," said Jan Phipps, manager of Gordy's Tiger Mart, which pushed for the unorthodox punishment. Purnell, 18, who was caught on surveillance tape speeding away from the gas pump, walked along the convenience shop's grassy storefront as passing drivers honked horns and made catcalls."


gas theft stories and gas theft news


April 8th, 2006: "GasTheft.com added to Wikipedia"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_theft
"Gas theft is the removal of gasoline from a station without payment. Typically committed by teenagers, the thief will usually use some form of decoy to prevent nearby witnesses from noticing the lack of payment until they have left the station. Common decoys include pretending to press the wrong buttons after swiping the credit card, or having multiple people get gas at the same time with one paying for another person and the other running off with both cars.

With typical gas thefts costing station owners in the range of $50 per incident, many stores have fought back by installing better video equipment and possibly requiring pre-payment. http://www.gastheft.com is a registry for store owners to keep records of gas theft incidents."



April 5th, 2006: "Gas Theft Costs Man his Job"
Email: "A man recently stole gas from our station with a company truck, with visible company logo and contact information on the side. We reported it to the company and the owner of the company was beyond upset, we were later informed that the man was fired the same day."



March 26th, 2006: "Gas theft is up as gas prices climb"
Full Story
"Gas theft is on the rise along with the recent rise in gas prices. Last year, gas drive-offs cost the convenience store industry about 100 million dollars, that's about one-thousand dollars per store. While gas theft is hurting business for many stores, it's also costing you, the driver. With higher gases prices, drive-offs are becoming entirely too frequent. "Sometimes you can have two and three a day," says cashier, Jim Vinson. This Shell gas station loses between $200 to $300 a week just in gas sales."



February 24th, 2006: "Truck Explosion ignites search for gas-theft ring"
Full Story
"A truck explosion at a gas station north of Toronto sparked a police search for two men suspected of being part of an unusual gas theft ring. The stolen truck burst into flames on Tuesday as the men began filling a 1,100-litre tank hidden in the back of the vehicle. The men were using stolen credit cards to buy small amounts of gas at various stations in the Greater Toronto Area in an attempt to avoid raising suspicions over a single huge bill, the Toronto Star reports. "



September 19th, 2005: "Rising gasoline prices result in more fuel theft"
Full Story
"Gasoline thefts cost the industry $237 million nationwide in 2004, and losses will continue to surge, said Brad Proctor, founder of GasPriceWatch.com, a Web site devoted to helping motorists find the cheapest gas in their area. "

September 7th, 2005: "Gas Theft criticized by Nevada's Pahrump Valley Times"
Full Story
"All over the nation this year, there are reports of an increase in gas skips. The reports have not been accompanied by reliable crime statistics, but they have still generated a lot of news coverage. And it has been very poor quality coverage ... The portrayal of station owners as bystanding victims is strong - there's even a Web page called www.gastheft.com. In legislature after legislature, the same tired old "solution" - increasing penalties - is being enacted. Minnesota, Iowa, Virginia, and Oklahoma have done so. South Dakota opened vehicle registration records to station owners."

Response: Writer Dennis Myers is quick to dismiss gas theft crime as 100% preventable by implementing pre-pay at gas stations.



August 23rd, 2005: "Observers fear thefts, violence to rise with gas prices"
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/08/23/gas.rage.ap/index.html
"Husain "Tony" Caddi, 54, died Friday after being run over by a driver who police believe wasn't going to pay for $52 worth of fuel. Police are searching for the driver of the gold or tan Jeep-style SUV. With gasoline prices soaring, industry experts predict the number of drive-offs -- and violence -- will increase."




July 6th, 2005: "Gas Theft Ringleader Arrested"
Full Story
"Initiated in August 2004, "Operation Gas Leak" is an investigation by the Miami-Dade police and several federal agencies into the theft and resale of fuel in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Since 2004, more than 55 people have been arrested in connection with the alleged gas theft ring. Police have also seized a large number of vehicles used to transport fuel. Wednesday, police arrested 47-year-old Vicente Moran on Tuesday. Investigators said Moran masterminded the theft of thousands of gallons of gasoline. Investigators said that in some of the thefts, modified trucks with tanks large enough to hold up to 1,000 gallons of fuel were used. The trucks were equipped with electric pumps to siphon fuel directly out of the underground storage tanks of gasoline stations, according to police. The gas thieves would randomly target gas stations and they would pump fuel directly from storage tanks into the modified trucks, police said. Investigators said all the thefts happened while the gas stations were open to the public and without station attendants ever finding out. Moran is charged with conspiracy, organized fraud and dealing in stolen property, as well as violation of the Florida Racketeering Influence and Corruption Organization Act. He is being held on $2 million bail."



February 8th, 2005: "Rising gasoline prices may be linked to gas theft"
Full Story
"With gas prices on the rise, local police officers and convenience store owners are concerned about an abundance of gasoline being stolen.

Mayu Mirza, owner of a Chevron convenience store, said his store has numerous drive-offs, possibly because of the increased gas prices. He said the store takes precautions to decrease the likelihood of gas being stolen.

"(We) turn the pumps on and have a pay at the pump system," he said. "If anything looks too suspicious, we don't turn on the pump."

Mirza said if he does see people stealing gas, he tries to get the license plate number and turn it in to the police. He said the store also has a list of repeat offenders and suspicious vehicles."



Dec 13, 2004: Gas theives CAUGHT!
Our latest incident was a truck that decided to steal a tank of gas. An attendant pursued them until they eventually pulled into a construction site. At that point they pulled in behind the truck to block them in, and police were called to come and charge the individual. When police arrived they found the truck's plates were expired, the man's drivers license was expired, and of course, he had stolen gas as well. In total he was charged with *5* criminal offenses, which probably would have gone without punishment -- until he decided to try and steal some gas.



August 19, 2004: "Gas theft suspect burned"
Full Story
"HIALEAH GARDENS - A man who may have been stealing gasoline suffered severe burns when a 300-gallon tank installed under the seats of his van exploded, police said. It appears the man was using a stolen credit card to buy the gas when the tank exploded, catching him on fire, police said. "



GasTheft.com Media Coverage
Salt Lake Tribune, April 5th, 2004
Gastheft.com quoted on gas theft in correlation with price increases:
"Gasoline theft rising along with price"
To expand on this story, there is NOT a short-term correlation with small increases in price and increased gas theft at stations. However, over the course of several years of constant gas price increases, gas theft incidents have SIGNIFICANTLY increased.



March 9, 2004: 3 gas theives CAUGHT!
Email: "We just caught 3 local gas theives. One was forced by police to come back and pay for his gas (premium) that he had stolen.

Later that day, two theives attempted to make off with a tank full of gas. The station not only got their information, but the attendant chased after them until the theives blew a tire! (What goes around comes around, what a twist of fate.) This gave police a chance to catch up and they were caught, and charged with theft under $1000. Their court date is set in April, 2004. The ridiculus thing is, the theives HAD they money to pay for the gas, and decided to drive away instead. Now they face fines and possible jail time instead."



March 3, 2004: video surveillance decreases theft
We have been doing prominent and visible video surveillance at a local gas station in attempts to 'curb' the latest rash of gas theft. Every day of surveillance has resulted in $0 of theft. Of course, it costs money to pay for physical surveillance, but would you rather pay someone to watch your station, or have people constantly stealing gas? The answer is obvious. So far, results are promising.



Email from a Gas Theif:
EVILCHRIST666@aol.com, February 23, 2004 10:55:41 AM

"im glad ppl steal gas in 1999 it was .85 a gallon now they want from $1.50-1.89 thats bullshit i havnt payed for gas in 3 years and i wont till its back down to a dollar"

Feel free to email this ignorant individual regarding his email. He is just one of the people whose theft is driving up the cost of your gasoline. I'm sure he will enjoy his fines and prison time.



December, 2003: Station owner fights back -- literally.
Email: "Upon realizing that one of the customers on pump was a known gas thief (who had been stealing premium gas for weeks), a station owner took initiative and attempted to apprehend the individual. Once caught and taken inside the station for holding until the police arrived, he escaped, ran back to his car and attempted to drive away. Other customers attempted to stop the individual, but were unsuccessful. The theif drove away, but the owner was holding a crowbar for protection and SMASHED the back window of the car in an effort to stop the theft. The criminal got away, and police were somehow unable to find a car driving with a back window smashed out.

It is believed that the individual or one of his friends returned to the site about 2 weeks late and vandalized the cars of the workers on duty. The vandals punctured one tire of one vehicle, then returned a few days later and punctured all 4 wheels of another vehicle. The charges against the gas thief now include theft under $1000, assault, and vandalization."


Email: "About two months ago my uncle went to a local gas station and he forgot to pay for his gas. He was running late for a job interview and was stressed out about some things in his personal life. He honestly did forget to pay. He has been going to this gas station for years. He did not intentionally drive off without paying. Anyhow, he got a call from the Pennsylvania State Police the next day. The trooper told him how he got $10.00 worth of gas and left without paying. He even told her that he didn't realize that he did this. He asked her if he could go to the gas station and pay the $10.00 and appoligize. She told him no because it was not a private owned gas station. It is owned by a company and they have to prosecute. He has received the citation in the mail and plans on pleading not guilty to retail theft charges. Could you tell me if the trooper was right to tell my uncle not to go the the gas station. She told him that he can never go there again in his life, not to contact them ... The fine was $25.00 and the costs were about $100.00. It just said that he failed to pay after getting his $10.00 worth of gas and was being charged with retail theft, 3929 A1."

Response: "Each individiual state has it's own laws for gas theft. The charges must be filed by the station owner/company... However, it may be company policy to prosecute all thefts. Honestly, it would be extremely hard to prove that he actually forgot. The fact is, had he gone back to the station and paid the $10.00, no charges would have been filed, and no citation would have been written. After charges are filed, there is no reason for the station to drop the charges if payment is received since it would appear as if they were just trying to get out of the charges. Had he returned to the station immediately, this all would have been avoided."
anti gas theft tips

Simple ways to Reduce Gas Theft
There are many strategies for lowering the number of gas thefts at your station:
  • Setup surveillance cameras (even dummy cams) to deter theives, video footage is proof of theft.
  • Change ALL pumps, or high-risk far pumps to pre-pay only.
  • Do NOT authorize cars with no plates, covered plates, or who pull in backwards.
  • Simply WATCH and make eye contact with drivers who are pumping gas, if they feel they are being watched, they will not drive away without paying.
  • Always know which pumps have and have not paid for their gas. Knowing makes it a lot easier to spot cars driving away without paying.
  • Train employees to write down license plate information as well as car and people descriptions for anyone suspicious.
  • Keep a "hot list" of known theives and share information with other stations. Print off your list from gastheft.com today!


  • State Laws on Gas Theft
    (as of October 11, 2000)

    Many states have implemented high fines, jail time, loss of license and loss of vehicle for gas theft.

    The following is a list of penalties for an average automobile gas theft, which is under $100. Penalties may increase as the size of the theft grows.

    Alabama
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and $2,000 fine. Repeat offenders face suspension of drivers license.

    Alaska
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and $1,000 fine.

    Arizona
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and $2,500 fine.

    California
    Misdemeanor, petty theft, maximum punishment of up to six months in jail and/or $1,000 fine.

    Connecticut
    Misdemeanor, minimum fine of $100 and no jail time. Note: Judge can make exceptions.

    Colorado
    no state law (considered a municipal issue)

    Delaware
    Misdemeanor.

    Florida
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and/or $500 fine. Repeat offenders face suspension of drivers license.

    Georgia
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail or $100 fine. Repeat offenders face suspension of drivers license.

    Hawaii
    Maximum penalty of up to 1 year in jail and/or $200 fine for first offense.

    Idaho
    Misdemeanor, maximum penalty of punishable by up to 1 year in jail and $1,000 fine.

    Illinois
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and $2,500 fine.

    Iowa
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or $100 fine.

    Indiana
    Felony, punishable by up to 6 months - 1 year in jail and up to $10,000 fine.

    Kansas
    Maximum penalty of up to 1 year in jail and $2,500 fine for first offense. Repeat offenders face suspension of drivers license

    Kentucky
    Misdemeanor, maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and $500 fine.

    Louisiana
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or $500 fine. Repeat offenders can be charged with a felony.

    Maine
    Misdemeanor, maximum punishment of six months in jail and $1,500 fine.

    Maryland
    Misdemeanor, possible punishable of up to 18 months in jail and $500 fine.

    Massachusetts
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail or $300 fine.

    Michigan
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 93 days in jail and $500 fine or possible suspension of drivers license.

    Minnesota
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and $700 fine.

    Mississippi
    Misdemeanor. Repeat offenders can lose of drivers license.

    Missouri
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and $1,000 fine.

    Montana
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and $500 fine.

    Nebraska
    Misdemeanor, maximum penalty of six months in jail and $1,000 fine.

    Nevada
    Misdemeanor.

    New Hampshire
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail.

    New Mexico
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and $500 fine.

    New Jersey
    "Disorderly person's offense,"punishable by up to six months in jail and $500 fine.

    New York
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and maximum of $250 fine.

    North Carolina
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 120 days in jail for repeat offenders.

    North Dakota
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and $1,000 fine.

    Ohio
    Misdemeanor, maximum penalty of six months in jail and $1,000 fine.

    Oklahoma
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and $100 fine.

    Oregon
    Misdemeanor, punishable by 30 days in jail and/or $1,000 fine.

    Pennsylvania
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail or $2,500 fine for less than $50, and up to 2 years in jail and $5,000 fine for theft worth $50-$199.

    Rhode Island
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or up to $1,000 fine.

    South Carolina
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and $500 fine and possible suspension of drivers license.

    South Dakota
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and $200 fine.

    Tennessee
    Misdemeanor, up to $500 fine. Repeat offenders can lose of drivers license.

    Texas
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to $500 fine for less than $50, and up to six months in jail and $2,000 fine for theft worth more than $50.

    Utah
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and $1,000 fine.

    Vermont
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or up to $1,000 fine.

    Virginia
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or up to $2,500 fine.

    Washington
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and $5,000 fine.

    West Virginia
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and $2,500 fine for first offense. Repeat offenders can lose of drivers license.

    Wisconsin
    Misdemeanor, penalty ranging from $50-$1,000 fine.

    Wyoming
    Misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and $700 fine.



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