Gas Station Drive Offs: Police Urging Crooks To Think Twice

By: Melina MatthesMMatthes@kptm.comOMAHA (kptm) - Omaha Police say it's nothing new, drive offs at the gas pump, but a spike in thefts at one Millard gas station has officers now warning crooks from doing it again. The police department is asking for the public's help and it says there is something you do if the driver at the pump next to you takes off.Omaha Police said the Kum & Go in Millard has had 8 drive offs in the last few weeks. Fox 42 News tried speaking with store associates about the problem; they refused to go on camera. Officer Kevin Wiese said it's something the police department sees often, people stealing gas."It doesn't surprise me. I mean there's still shoplifting that occurs. There's lots of different ways to steal."And even with today's technology, he said people still try to get away with it."We found that most of the gas stations all have good video and I know in follow up and investigating cases, that videos come very helpful in prosecuting these cases." A spokesperson with QuikTrip said a few years back they had a huge problem with theft. He said each year, they were losing about $12 million due to gas drive offs, but he said ever since they started their pump start option, the gas stations have been safer for everyone.That's because with the pump start option customers have to pre-register their driver's license numbers before they get the right to pump gas, but it's still not fool proof. "Anytime there is a gas drive off, there is a risk. If people are committing crimes, maybe they do take out of the parking lot in an erratic behavior or way."And he said there's something else crooks should re-think before stealing gas from a pump. "Anytime you steal, you're taking money right out of employee's pockets and it's just not the right thing to do and it is a crime and you will be prosecuted if you're caught."Officer Wiese said if you see someone stealing gas, call 911 immediately. Get their license plate number and a description of the driver if possibleThe Omaha Police Department said if a crook gets caught three times stealing gas at the pump, it becomes a felony. That's a minimum of 1 year behind bars and at least a $1,000 fine."Like" Melina on Facebook and follow her on Twitter to stay connected.