‘These are thieves. They are not robbing from the rich and giving to the poor’
Thieves across the United States are stealing gas as fuel prices hit record highs, according to reports.
The criminals are physically taking gas from pumps and other vehicles or by hacking gas retailers’ networks.
Although the thieves think they are doing drivers a favor by reselling stolen gas, experts argue they are doing more harm than good.
“There is no Robin Hood in this,” Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives at the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), told Fox News Digital.
“These are thieves. They are not robbing from the rich and giving to the poor,” he said.
“The gas station owner is the least responsible for high prices. The cost of theft gets passed on in higher prices, and when people are driving around with unsecured stolen fuel, it is a concern to anybody.”
Air Force veteran co-founder of NGT Academy, a network engineering and cybersecurity training academy, Terry Kim said:
“It’s really sad because who’s really losing out in these types of situations is the gas station owner.”
“You can literally put them completely out of business [into] bankruptcy by doing this kind of stuff. Even though stealing oil might be helping people or getting free gas, this is really a bad thing for these gas station owners,” he said.
In Virginia Beach, Virginia earlier this month, police observed “numerous vehicles” using devices to pump gas from a Citgo station that was closed at the time.
“During the officers’ preliminary investigation, it was determined that devices were being used to illegally access gas pumps.”
“Individuals were then selling the gasoline at a discounted rate through a phone application and had advertised the operation on social media. It was determined that thousands of dollars worth of gasoline was stolen from the business over several days,” the Virginia Beach Police Department said in a June 14 press release.
As Fox News reproted:
To protect themselves from cyberattacks, fuel retailers should make sure their networks are up-to-date and properly secured so that their technology infrastructure has no vulnerabilities, or weaknesses allowing hackers to infiltrate their networks and steal or change information. Stores and franchises should also train their employees, Kim and NGT Academy co-founder Jacob Hess said.
More thieves are stealing gas in the United States, with 25% of fuel retailers reporting an increase in gas thefts.
Physical gas thefts not involving cyberattacks are another issue.
Lenard said that about 25% of gas retailers have experienced an increase in gas theft compared to last year, citing data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Thieves are “getting access to the pump and…either somehow overriding the system, whether physically or electronically, and resetting prices to be extremely low, or keeping that the transaction open where multiple people can go through the same transaction,” Lenard explained.
“That is one trend. The other trend is someone who is retrofitting or rejiggering a flat-panel van or some type of vehicle, then parking over the underground storage tank and pulling gas out of the underground storage tank and then reselling,” he explained. “And that is probably the most common right now.”
In Salt Lake City, Utah, security camera footage cught a thief stealing gas from a truck parked outside Summit Fire and Protection, a fire safety and protection company, before his body catches fire.
“The guy tried to siphon gas out of it, and he wasn’t getting the siphon to work. So he decided to drill the gas tank, and that’s when he caught on fire,” branch manager Travis Mills told the outlet, adding that “it’s not worth the $5 that he would have saved for the injury that the guy sustained.”