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Gas stations deal with theft 'everyday'

By By ANNA M. LEE Managing Editor
Local gas station manager Shirley Morris says that "drive-offs" -- people who pump gas and leave without paying -- are a daily problem, and it's very difficult to catch these gas thieves.
Mike Alverson, supervisor for the Diamond Gasoline Station on Douglas Avenue and Diamond Gasoline Station #14 on Hwy. 31 South, agrees that preventing gas theft and catching thieves in the act can be very difficult. One effort that helps is requiring customers to pre-pay for gas after dark.
Alverson said that at the stations he supervises, they go through cycles of increasing problems with drive-offs and fewer problems when requiring pre-payment, until they stop pre-payment and thefts begin to rise again. Pre-pay or not, Alverson said that gas theft seems to get worse as gas prices rise like they have over the last several weeks.
Morris too expects more theft as prices rise.