Gas theft is up as gas prices climb - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Gas theft is up as gas prices climb

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March 26, 2006

Albany--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.

"It's really frustrating because we're responsible for watching the pumps," says Vinson.

"If you can't pay for it, walk," says driver, Jason Gary. Gary fuels up regularly, but is annoyed with people who steal.

He says it's ultimately costing him. "I don't want have to pay for anybody else's mistakes," says Gary.

"If we have enough loss in drive offs, of course, we're going to have to make a difference in prices," says Vinson.

More drive-offs means higher prices you pay at the pump. "I think people get brave when the drive off, I really do," says cashier, Cindy Harris.

Here at Woodall's employees are cracking down on gas thieves.

"We get their tag numbers and if they catch them, we try and do something about it," says Harris.

They've even placed cameras near the pumps to closely monitor drivers fueling up. "That's limited a lot of our drive offs to where we don't have as many," says Harris.

But for those who continue to steal, cashiers warn you will get caught eventually.

"What goes around comes around," says Vinson.

If you're caught stealing gas, you can be fined up to $100 and jailed for up to sixty days.

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