Gas Thefts on the Rise

Gasoline thefts are on the rise. In fact, along I-10 it's a drive-off dilemma.

These days Tawanna Aikens is keeping a close eye on customers at the pump. She says with gas prices steadily climbing folks have been driving off without paying, forcing managers to take action.

"We need two cashiers live on the weekend and summer time to help keep up with gas. Like, one can stand and watch while the other one take the money and vice-versa," says Aikens.

Stations located near the interstate are the hardest hit. The gas stations work on an honor system, hoping when you pump you'll pay in the store.

Sheriff Pete Bucher with the Madison County Sheriff's Office, says, "What we found out is that when people are done getting their fuel they just lay the pump down rather than shutting it off, which will activate the alarm so the attendant would know they're done, and by the time they realize the pump is on the ground the person is long gone."

Madison County deputies reported an average of 25 to 30 gas thefts a month. In February alone, the loss of revenue in gas skips in Madison County was more than $600 and is nearing $500 this month.

John Rice, a customer, says, "I think people who are stealing gas regardless of price is wrong, just because prices go up doesn't give people the right to steal anything.”

If caught, that person will be charged with petit theft and they could risk losing their drivers license. Georgia retailers say gas thefts have increased by as much as 300 percent during the past few months.