CHARLOTTE, N.C. — CMPD is issuing a gas theft warning after nearly 300 gallons of gas, valued at more than $1,000, was stolen when a group rigged gas pumps at a Charlotte convenience store.
On March 16th, officers received a 911 call regarding the gas theft at the convenience store.
Police say the clerk noticed the pumps were reading as shut down, but the gas was still coming out.
“He looked outside and not only was that gas pump not shut down but there was a long line of cars coming out of the parking lot going directly to that gas pump. Someone was standing, pumping gas for all the cars that were coming through and someone was actually waving cars up to that gas pump,” Officer John Clark said in a video tweeted out by the department.
Police say the group stole nearly 300 gallons of gas.
“When we showed up, a bunch of the cars decided they didn’t want gas that bad. They all left, but the group that was orchestrating the gas station shutdown, they stayed and we were able to arrest them and get charges against them,” Clark said.
CMPD says the ringleader of the gas theft operation was arrested and charged with felony access of a computer to defraud, felony larceny, and numerous other charges.
“It’s best to just pay for your gas traditionally at the pump or inside. If you’re approached at a gas pump by someone that offers you a discount on gas, just ignore that person or tell them that you don’t want to be involved because you could become involved in a police investigation at that point,” Detective Alec Campbell, with CMPD financial crimes, said in the video.
CMPD says with gas prices higher than ever, law enforcement across the country has seen a rise in similar crimes.
CMPD’s Financial Crimes unit provides the following tips:
- Keep a watchful eye out.
- If you see an unusual number of cars at a gas station while other nearby gas stations have a regular flow of traffic, that may be an issue.
- If a stranger asks you to pay them for gas or you see an individual pumping from multiple pumps at a time, call 911.