As gas prices continue to soar across the country, a group of thieves made a run on a gas station in North Carolina, stealing hundreds of dollars in gasoline.
According to local TV station WGHP, the thieves attacked the Bizzy Bee Grocery and BP gas station in High Point, North Carolina, and stole almost 400 gallons of gasoline directly from its pumps late Tuesday evening, after the station had closed for the night. Gas station owner Hardik Patel told WGHP that about 15 cars in total showed up to the pumps, stealing about $1,600 in gas. “I lost a lot of money last night,” Patel said. “It’s a lot of money to be lost. It’s really bad.”
Surveillance video included in a TV segment on the theft showed two individuals pulling up to the pump at around 9:23 p.m. One suspect gets out of the passenger side of the car and points a device at the pump. The device put the gas pumps in “standalone mode,” allowing them to pump gas without charging. Petroleum expert Trey Barker told WGHP that the device was a remote control used by repair technicians and government workers to check that the pumps are dispensing accurately. “The reason dispensers have this option is so petroleum technicians and NC Weight and Measures can test and calibrate dispensers,” Barker said.
Minutes later, cars began lining up to take gas from the pump. Surveillance video from shortly after the thieves arrived showed other cars pulling up to the pump, with one of the thieves pumping gas for others who pulled up. “It lasted about 45 minutes, until about 11:16, that’s when the police found out they were here. But between that time, there were like maybe 15 cars or more. Probably filled [the] gas about close to 400 gallons,” Patel said.
Police were called to the scene after a regular customer reported that there was a line of cars waiting at the pumps after the station had closed. “We have a lot of regulars [watching] around,” Patel said. “At that time, they knew something [was] wrong.”
“It’s abnormal [that] about 10-12 cars at a time,” he added.
Patel later called a gas technician to fix the pumps, and told the outlet that he was going to shut the pumps off at night to prevent this happening again. “We’re just going to shut off the [pumps] at night,” Patel told WGHP. “We didn’t sell a lot of [gas] at night, so I just … decided not to do it at night. That way I don’t have to go through this again.” Patel also informed a number of other local gas station owners and told the outlet he wants the suspects held accountable.
The gas expert said the theft was not common, but he tied it to the record spike in gas prices. The Daily Wire reported last week that gas surged to a record high of $4.104 per gallon, breaking the previous record set all the way back in 2008. Gas prices have continued to surge since then and currently sit at about $4.30 per gallon on average nationwide, according to AAA, though some relief is expected as oil prices slide downward.