By Elizabeth Stauffer March 19, 2022 at 11:22am
As gas prices throughout the U.S. surge out of control, it’s no surprise that gas theft is on the rise. During the 1973 to ’74 supply crunch, thieves would siphon gas through rubber tubes to steal fuel. Kind of messy, but it worked.
It would be a little tougher to try that today because most gas caps are released from inside the car.
In the nearly 50 years since then, however, technological advances have made the process much simpler and far more efficient. Just ask Hardik Patel, the owner of a BP gas station and convenience store located in High Point, North Carolina.
Shortly after he had closed his store and left for the night on Monday, footage from a surveillance camera shows a car pulling into the station. A man exits his vehicle and points a device at one of the gas pumps. The action releases the machine’s dispenser, allowing him to steal hundreds of gallons of gas.
Patel told WGHP-TV that the device enabled the man to put the pump into “stand-alone mode.” Over the next 45 minutes, the man helped around 15 other people fill their tanks with free gas.
At approximately 11 p.m., one of Patel’s regular customers arrived at the station. Finding it unusual to see so many cars there at that hour, the customer knew something was wrong and called the police, according to Patel.
By the time police arrived, nearly 400 gallons had been stolen.
Patel said he plans to turn off the pumps when he closes the store from now on.
WATCH: Thieves steal 400 gallons of gas from a North Carolina station as gas prices surge under Biden pic.twitter.com/jkk0Yd3I7y
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 17, 2022
WGHP spoke with petroleum technician Trey Barker, who explained that the thief’s device was able to put the pump in “dispense mode” by remotely changing the settings inside the machine.
“The reason dispensers have this option is so petroleum technicians and [the North Carolina Weights and Measures Office] can test and calibrate dispensers,” Barker said.
He told WGHP this type of theft happens more often when gas prices top $4 a gallon.
Those who don’t happen to have access to one of these devices have come up with lots of other creative ways to steal fuel.
In the clip below, a reporter speaks to a Houston gas station owner who claimed to have had 360 gallons of fuel stolen from his underground tank on three different days. He said, “The van drives on top of the fuel tank. They have a trap door inside their vehicle, which is crazy.”
You won’t believe this ……gas theft schemes.
Sound ON pic.twitter.com/u3CgnsPkmU
— Wall Street Silver (@WallStreetSilv) March 18, 2022
There have also been numerous reports of thieves drilling holes in gas tanks.
Car owners from Pennsylvania, California, and other states have reported instances of theft by criminals drilling into their gas tanks in order to drain and steal the gas, according to automotive news website Jalopnik.https://t.co/G65vAKPfHn
— Newsmax (@newsmax) March 15, 2022
“How long until people start shooting over gas theft?” radio host Andrew Wilkow asked.
How long until people start shooting over gas theft?
— Andrew Wilkow (@WilkowMajority) March 18, 2022
Hopefully, it won’t come to that. But this crisis will get worse before it gets better.
This is just one more reason to increase domestic oil production — now.