NEW ORLEANS – One local gas station owner says thieves are going high-tech to tamper with his gas pump in order to fill up for free, and this is not the first time thieves have stolen gas this way.
If clerks fail to catch it, gas stations can be hit for hundreds of dollars before they even know it.
Even though gas prices have dipped, Hamed Akbarian said it hasn’t stopped thieves from coming up with new ways to steal gas.
Here at the Discount Corner on South Claiborne Avenue, he says two thieves used an unfamiliar device to disable all communication between one of his gas pumps and the register.
“You need to have some knowledge in order to do such a thing, and I really don’t know how they did it,” says Hamed Akbarian.
When the thief started pumping gas after activating the device, all the cashier saw was an X indicating the pump was off, but in reality it was still pumping gas, and the attendant has no way to turn off the fuel.
“The person that was working behind the register from inside the store could not stop the pump. The register was locked,” Akbarian said.
In the gas station’s surveillance video, the pair is seen turning into the gas station, pulling a trailer behind their truck full of empty drums.
Moments later they were pumping gas, but that is when the cashier noticed something was not right.
“The cashier walked out and took the picture of the person and of the license plate and they just got mad and ran away,” says Akbarian.
The NOPD is now investigating the gas theft, but the local technician called out to fix the problem said he’s received several calls about it in the past two weeks.
“The technician told me that you are not the first gas station, you are the fifth one,” says Akbarian.
In fact, a Chevron along Airline Highway was also hit by thieves who used the same device, but instead of a trailer, a parade of cars lined to pump gas.
Luckily for both gas stations, the clerks noticed the illegal gas-guzzlers before it was too late.
The NOPD says they are now investigating the incident as a theft and are working to identify the suspect captured in the photos taken by the Discount Corner clerk.