Stealing Gas More Common

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Law enforcement officers have a warning for motorists, and some employees at gas stations and convenience stores say they've had enough.

"It hurts a lot because it comes out of our pocket," said cashier Harold Sims.

Gas drive-offs are costly, and apparently not uncommon.

"It hurts me because it cuts into my profit. There's no profit when the prices go up. There is no profit and when the people start driving off, it cuts it all," said store owner Abdo Obeid.

While some might think that they're saving cash by stealing gas, law enforcement officials say this actually can do this opposite.

"They can face charges of petty larceny. It depends on the amount. Now, with gas above $2 a gallon, if you have a very large vehicle it could get very expensive," said Capt. Jeff Lewis of the Meridian Police Department.

That could be almost $200 in court costs alone. Aside from a petty larceny charge, those who break this law could also lose their driver's licenses.

Many gas stations are adopting the policy that all motorists must pay first before they pump.

"I guess I'd tell customers not to get mad when we don't turn the pumps on for them, because it's not that we don't trust them, but there's a lot of people that make us do it, because when $40 and $50 takes off, we cannot take it anymore," Obeid said.