"It's a very lucrative way to make money. It runs below the radar," stated US Secret Service Agent Steve Scarince.
There is nothing new about stealing gas....... just the particular methods change a bit over time. The authorities are calling the newest scheme "pump and dump" after the quickness of the transactions. The gas thief pulls into a regular gas station and purchases gas with a stolen credit card.
The vehicle they are driving looks like an ordinary vehicle but it has been fitted with all manner of extra sized containers inside. It looks to the average person that they are just filling up the family van at the pump but they are really filling up the extra container that could hold several hundred gallons of gas or diesel fuel. If the station is fairly busy, they attendant may not even notice that it is taking fifteen or twenty minutes to fill the huge hidden tank.
The thieves then turn around and sell the fuel at a very low cost to other gas stations or truck drivers. It wouldn't matter too much as to what the price they get for their stolen gas because they didn't have to pay for it. The person who had their credit card number stolen would be stuck trying to get the charge removed for a purchase they certainly did not make.
The gas thieves are generally part of a larger criminal ring that may be using the stolen credit card information for more than just stolen gas. The police have spent months at a time chasing down leads and building a case against a ring of them before they can finally make an arrest. Sometimes though, it just takes an alert clerk who notices that the sale is rather large for the vehicle they are driving and writes down the vehicle information.
In 2007, there was a rash of similar cases of gas theft but at that time, the method of theft included parking a large motor home or trailer over the gas tanks themselves. They would then use a pump to pump the gas out of the station's tanks without them knowing it was stolen until the next time they checked the tank. It seems that people will always find some way to steal a gallon, it is just the method that may change a bit.
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