Thief used remote device to steal 400 gallons of gas, station owner says


HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — With the U.S. average gas price still above $4 per gallon, one North Carolina gas station took a hit at the pumps Monday after thieves stole nearly 400 gallons of gas over 45 minutes.

Hardik Patel, the owner of Bizzy Bee Grocery and B.P., said the thieves waited until after the store in High Point was closed to steal the gas.

“It lasted about 45 minutes until the police found out they were here. But between that time, there were maybe 15 cars probably. Filled the gas close to 400 gallons,” Patel said.

Petroleum technician Trey Barker said the thieves used a special remote to alter the mechanics of the gas pump that puts it in “dispense mode,” dispensing hundreds of gallons of gas for free.

“The reason dispensers have this option is so petroleum technicians and N.C. Weight and Measures can test and calibrate dispensers,” Barker said.

In surveillance video, you can see a person pointing a device at the machine, releasing the dispenser. Then, the person is seen walking back and forth, helping other cars fill their tanks.

At one point, the gas station started to fill up with cars waiting in line to get free gas. Patel said that’s when a customer who suspected something was wrong called the police.

“It’s abnormal at about 10-12 cars at that time. We have a lot of regulars watching around the bad parts. And at that time, they knew something was wrong,” Patel said.

In the 45 minutes it took the thieves to steal the gas from the pumps, Patel said he lost nearly 400 gallons of gas worth $1,600.

Barker said gas theft like this is not something that happens often, but he tends to see it when gas prices rise above $4 a gallon.

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