Albany store posts pictures of thieves -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany store posts pictures of thieves

October 2, 2006

Albany -- One Albany store is fighting back against gas drive-off thieves. They are putting the thieves' pictures up on the front door of their store.

Right on the front door leading into Stock's Market on Philema Road, three pictures of a man they say drove away without paying for his gas. Now they are asking customers to help identify him. Owner Steve Stocks said, "I don't know whether the A.C.L.U. might  like that, but it works."

After 26 years running his store, Steve Stocks says gas drive off thieves got bolder, and more numerous. Steve Stocks said, "When the price goes up, the number of drive offs goes up." And with gas prices still above two dollars a gallon, each drive off hurts this Mom and Pop store. Stocks said, "When you have a $20 drive off, it's not nearly as bad as an $80 drive off, and we have had some of those lately."

 So Stocks installed new high tech cameras at his store to record the gas pumps, but the thieves keep taking off without paying the skyrocketing price of fuel.  And Stocks said Police were not able to catch them even with the pictures. Stocks said, "Sometimes I don't think there is a whole lot of excitement created when you call in a drive off at a filling station."

So, about one and a half months ago, Steve started posting the pictures of gas thieves here on the front door of his store. He had great success right away. The first thief he posted was a woman, and another customer quickly gave Stocks her name. Stocks said, "Her ex-husband was able to identify her."

Stocks says he reported the woman to Police, and she was charged with theft. 

Stocks says he has had to change his store policy to only pre-pay at his pumps, and very rarely do thieves have a chance anymore.  But when someone like this man does get away, Stocks is ready to stick up a wanted poster, and trust his customer's to turn him in. "Somebody sooner of later, unless he came from way off, will be able to put the finger on him."

Stocks said he is not sure if the pictures on his door, or the new pre-pay policy, has cut down on gas drive offs, but the number of thefts are down.