Gas Drive-Offs

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Every time there is a spike in gasoline prices, there are an increasing number of people who drive off without paying after they have filled their vehicle tanks.

So says Evie Bolin, general manager of the Elm Creek Bosselman's Pump 'N Pantry.

Nationally, it is estimated some 100 million gallons of fuel are stolen annually.

Bolin says it is not a big problem at her outlet, but she is always on the watch for drive-offs. She says it is a concern everywhere fuel is sold.

Phelps County Deputy Attorney Bryan McQuay says people who get caught can face up to six months in jail and a one thousand dollar fine for a single tank of gas. But he says trying to prosecute those cases is tough.

He says if someone left the state, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to get them back to answer for that crime.

Some service stations have gone to a pre-pay system for fueling up, especially at night. Some storeowners, however, say pre-pay pumps may turn some customers away.