Gasoline thefts on the rise: increasingly original schemes

More and more Quebecers are ready to do anything to avoid having to pay more for their fuel, going so far as to develop new tactics to steal gasoline from service stations.

• Read also: Solutions against soaring gas prices?

For example, criminals will take advantage of the fact that they wear a surgical mask that covers their mouth and nose to fill up and leave without paying. As their face is concealed under the mask, they cannot be identified in the images captured by the surveillance cameras.

Others will rather hide the license plate of their vehicle, which also complicates the work of identifying suspects.

There is, however, a new tactic that is increasingly being used among gasoline thieves. This consists of uncovering your face, taking out your credit card and pretending to pay for fuel at the pump before setting sail.

In the event that they are intercepted by the authorities, the culprits will then plead their innocence by maintaining that they believed that the transaction had indeed been concluded.

A big impact for gas station owners

Olivier Gagnon, president of Groupe Gagnon, maintains that the number of gasoline thefts has practically tripled since the last price increases. He says he is the victim of about ten thefts a month.

He also claims that the average amount of theft has increased.

“We had a lot of flights before, $20, $30. People now don’t mind, the average flight is over $80,” he laments.

All these thefts are obviously harmful to his business.

“I confirm that the margin does not increase so when larger amounts are stolen like that, it has a significant impact,” he explains.

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