Like prices, gas drive-offs on the rise

By: Stephanie Brletic Email
By: Stephanie Brletic Email

DURANT, Okla. -- We've all been affected by high gas prices one way or another as the prices just keep going up and up. Apparently some drivers think those prices are high enough to risk prosecution.

Some gas station employees in Oklahoma said Friday they have a problem with people pumping and running. Others say they changed their service to pay at the pump or pre-pay to avoid being stuck with the tab.

Gas station employee Lori Coon says most customers are good people, and that's why her boss still allows people to pay after they pump.

"You’d think that would raise the chances, but I don't think it has because we have a lot of honest people that come here that pump on a daily basis," Coon says.

But not everyone is honest, and some people will go to any length to avoid paying high gas prices, even if that means sticking gas station owners with the tab.

Coon says earlier this week a few guys stole gas from the station, using distraction to make their move.

"The lines are here and these guys kept coming over here, using the restroom, bought beer, went outside, came back in, bought ice. They just pretty much kept pulling me, distracting me, making sure I was busy, I guess, and went out and got gas and left."

Durant assistant police chief Greg Pollock says there are about one or two drive-offs each week, but says most thieves use the same tactics like distraction.

"Usually they do it in a very busy time or maybe somebody looks in and sees that the clerk isn't paying attention, and then they'll drive off."

Pollock says to protect themselves, most gas stations have changed over to a pre-pay system requiring people to pay inside or at the pump before fueling up.

Coon says if pump and runs increase, her boss may be forced to switch to pre-pay service as well.

Pollock says that most gas stations do have surveillance cameras, and even if you're strapped for cash, you better pay for your gas, or you will face a higher price-- like losing your license and theft charges.

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