CMPD: Group stole nearly 300 gallons of gas by rigging pumps
CMPD officials said the ringleader was charged with felony access of a computer to defraud and felony larceny, among numerous other charges.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Gas pumps at a Charlotte convenience store were rigged to distribute over $1,000 in free gas, authorities said.
According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police, officers got a 911 call on March 16 at about 10:10 p.m. concerning gas theft.
Officers said the clerk noticed the pumps were reading as shut down, but that gas was still coming out.
“He looked outside and not only was that gas pump not shut down but there was a long line of cars coming out of the parking lot going directly to that gas pump. Someone was standing, pumping gas for all the cars that were coming through and someone was actually waving cars up to that gas pump,” CMPD Officer John Clark said in a video tweeted out by the department.
Clark added that a third person was walking around to different gas pumps and would get a notification that another pump had gone down. Then, another long line of cars would show up at that gas pump.
According to search warrants WBTV obtained, the suspect is Michael Kerry Logan Jr. of Sumter, S.C. He is believed to have been the ringleader and was charged with felony access of a computer to defraud, along with felony larceny and other charges.
Information in the search warrant shows Logan had $441.01 in cash on-hand when he was arrested, along with an iPhone.
Police searched the silver Toyota Tundra that Logan was driving due to the smell of marijuana, and police finding a baggie with marijuana residue inside his pockets.
During the search, police found $65 in cash throughout the front area of the truck, individually wrapped baggies of marijuana, and six TV-like remotes. Two other people were detained when Logan was arrested by police.
A manager at the gas station estimates about 282 gallons of gas were stolen, a total valued of $1,153.38. The gas was being sold at $4.09 per gallon.
“When we showed up, a bunch of the cars decided they didn’t want gas that bad. They all left, but the group that was orchestrating the gas station shutdown, they stayed and we were able to arrest them and get charges against them,” Clark said.
“It’s best to just pay for your gas traditionally at the pump or inside,” CMPD Det. Alec Campbell said. “If you’re approached at a gas pump by someone that offers you a discount on gas, just ignore that person or tell them that you don’t want to be involved because you could become involved in a police investigation at that point.”
With gas prices on the rise, law enforcement across the country has seen a rise in similar crimes, CMPD officials said.
The department’s financial crimes unit offered tips for community members:
- 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, call 911
Check this up-to-date list of the cheapest gas prices in the Charlotte area
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