Gas drive offs up as prices rise

By: Daniel Gotera Email
By: Daniel Gotera Email

DURANT, Okla. – While the price of a gallon of gasoline is now well over $3 in Texoma, those prices seem to get worse the farther north you go.

In Ardmore, the price tops off at $3.39. In Durant, prices at the pump range all the way up to $3.45 a gallon for regular unleaded gas.

With those high prices comes the risk of people filling up and taking off without paying.

"Since the beginning of January, there have been 23 people that have driven off with out paying for their gas. That’s left store managers with a problem they need to fix,” says Lt. Johnny Rutherford of the Durant Police Department.

Convenience store managers across town were not stunned by the number of drive offs that have been reported to authorities.

In fact, they think the number is a lot larger.

With most cases going unreported because store clerks are unable to get a tag number and direction in which the vehicle travels once it leaves the station, Durant police officials say leaving the pump without paying for gas is a misdemeanor offense under the states pump pirating act.

They recommend gas stations require all their customers to pay before filling up. That way clerks can control when to turn the pumps on or off.

Lt. Rutherford urges stores to install security cameras in order to catch gas drive off offenders in the act.

"Get some video surveillance, monitor the pumps because they get busy during the daytime, and they can’t always keep an eye on who’s out there pumping gas and by the time they realize they've been robbed, they're already long gone."

Durant police officials say the punishment for driving off without paying for gas is a suspended license, and they say they are going to start cracking down on this problem quickly.

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