Elaborate gas thief arrested - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Elaborate gas thief arrested

February 2, 2007

Dougherty County -- A 47-year-old Perry man is caught in the act, stealing gas from a Dougherty County convenience store's underground tank using an elaborate pump system inside his car.

 Now, investigators wonder how many other stores he has stolen gas from.

Jeff Knighton is in the Dougherty County jail, charged with theft by taking and aggravated assault. This is his Ford Escort, set up with a pump connected to a huge tank in the back. A hose extends from underneath the car, to pump gas from the underground storage tanks. He also had several extra gas cans inside the car.

About 2 PM Thursday the manager of the Fast Lane convenience store on Sylvester Road spotted the car with the hose sticking down into her tank, right in front of the store. The manager's husband, Larry McKay, was dragged by the car as it tried to stop Knighton. McKay said "I went to snatch him out of the car, he threw it into gear and he proceeded to taking off with me inside the car. He got out there by Sylvester Road. That's where I lost my grip of him, and ended up rolling across the parking lot."

 McKay is bruised and cut after being dragged by the car, but he's OK.

An undercover GBI agent driving by saw the commotion and followed Knighton until Dougherty County Police stopped him about two miles from the store.

Investigators say they believe he also stole gas from another convenience store on Cordele Road earlier in the afternoon.

Dougherty County Police are asking store owners who think they might have seen this car, or had gasoline stolen from them, to call them at 430-6600.  

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