CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Multiple people are facing charges after police said a group of thieves electronically hijacked gas pumps and stole more than 300 gallons of fuel from a gas station in north Charlotte.
According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, the incident happened in March at the Shell on Sunset Road, just off Interstate 77 on March 16. Detectives said the suspects were able to make the pumps appear shut down to the clerk inside the store. The suspects then pumped free gas into other people's cars before taking money from those drivers.
CMPD more than 300 gallons of gas, valued at over $1,000, were stolen. Police said the person they identified as the ring leader of the operation was arrested and charged with felony access of a computer to defraud, felony larceny and other charges.
With gas prices on the rise, CMPD said law enforcement across the nation has seen a rise in similar crimes. Here are some tips from CMPD:
Keep a watchful eye out:
- If you see an unusual number of cars at a gas station while other nearby gas stations have a regular flow of traffic, that may be an issue.
- If a stranger asks you to pay them for gas or you see an individual pumping from multiple pumps at a time.
Police advise people to call 911 if they encounter the red flags mentioned.
"It is best to pay for gas traditionally at the pump or directly with the gas station clerk," Detective Alex Campbell of CMPD's Financial Crimes unit said in a released video. "Crimes like these have a huge impact on the community, especially businesses that are locally owned."
WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to WCNC Charlotte by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wake Up Charlotte To Go is a daily news and weather podcast you can listen to so you can start your day with the team at Wake Up Charlotte.
SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Stitcher || TuneIn || Google Podcasts
All of WCNC Charlotte's podcasts are free and available for both streaming and download. You can listen now on Android, iPhone, Amazon, and other internet-connected devices. Join us from North Carolina, South Carolina, or on the go anywhere.