Police in Prince George County, VA, arrested two Florida truck drivers in conjunction with a diesel theft scheme that one fuel station owner said has cost his company more than 7,800 gals. of fuel valued at more than $30,000 over a period of four months.
The truckers used a simple scam that police said is being pulled by fuel thieves all around the country, according to a report by WRVR News, a CBS affiliate. The theft is accomplished when truckers either damage the fuel pump’s pulsar device or swap the pump’s device for their own device. The pulsars measure the amount of fuel being pumped.
The scammers tamper with the pump so it will register a smaller amount of diesel pumped when it actually pumped a different amount, police said. Before the damage is even discovered, the thieves have driven off with hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel they didn’t pay for.
“They were pumping hundreds of gallons worth of fuel here and the actual register was only showing 30 gals., so they may have pumped 300 gals. but only actually recorded 30,” Lt. Paul Burroughs, Prince George County Police, said.
Tampering with the fuel pumps damages the devices and six at the station have been so damaged that they can’t be used until repaired. ”I’ve worked on three of them, within the last month, that were manipulated and before that, the guy that came out with me, told me he worked on two of the others,” Jim Campbell, Baird Petroleum Equipment, said. “They’re breaking open the sides, after they get it started and busting off the pulsars, some are actually carrying their own pulsars, and swapping it out, they’re just damaging the pumps big time.”
The owners of the fueling station said they first noticed losses in June and called police to investigate on Sept. 10. “It was a couple of days later, on the 15th, they observed these same two trucks, same pumps, pull back in,” Lt. Paul Burroughs, with Prince George County Police, said.
Police arrested two drivers from Florida. A small device was confiscated that was used to manipulate the pumps. The truckers face four felonies each, two grand larceny charges and two for tampering with pumps.