Higher gas prices mean more drive offs
By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on September 8, 2005 1:48 PM
BY KENNETH FINE
News-Argus Staff Writer
The skyrocketing price of gasoline has led to more people stealing gas from service stations, say Goldsboro police.
Goldsboro police Chief Tim Bell told the City Council this week that the number of drive-offs has gone up right along with the price of gas.
Officers are getting more reports of drive-offs than ever, Bell said, noting that there were 40 during the month of August alone.
Gas pump drive-offs are nothing new and it is not unusual during a daily check of police and Wayne Sheriff's Office files to find a report of a driver leaving a station without paying.
But with gasoline costing more than $3 per gallon, the number of incidents has steadily increased, the chief said.
To compensate, many stations have begun requiring people to pay for their gas before pumping. At some stations, attendants have been stationed to watch drivers to make sure they pay.
Bell said the increasing number of drive-off reports has another negative side effect -- it requires more of his officers' time filling out the paperwork associated with the drive-offs that could be spent on more serious crimes.
Some cities and towns in North Carolina have considered making pre-payments for gas purchases mandatory.
"There are ways in which we can cut down that number," Bell said.
Bell did have some good news for the council at its meeting this week. Incidences of other crimes have decreased lately. He said officers are reporting fewer assaults and break-ins.
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