As gas prices skyrocket in the tri-states, more people are driving off without paying.
Quincy police and local gas stations say fuel theft has become a major problem, and it's only expected to get worse headed into this holiday weekend.
A lot of us cringe when we have to pay $70 or more for a tank of gas.
But officials at Phillips at 66 at 18th and Broadway in Quincy say some people don't pay this at all. They fill up their tank and then make a quick exit onto Broadway, and they're gone.
And paying customer say it's just not fair.
"Nobody likes a thief, but I also think that there's no way they are going to get away with it, they're actually going to end up paying more in the long run by doing that," said Greg Javaux.
"It's not fair and it's upsetting because it costs us in the long run for gas stations having to increase prices to make up the loses," said Shawn Overocker.
And with gas prices at the $4.00 a gallon mark, tri-state retailers are keeping a close eye on their pumps, as more people are driving off without paying.
According to the Quincy Police Department:
In 2011, the city reported 143 drive offs.
In 2012, 217 drive-offs.
So far this year, 76 drive-offs, with 16 in May alone.
But managers of the Phillips 66 Gas Station at 18th and Broadway say don't let this years lower numbers fool you.
Because the majority of drive offs are yet to come.
"Just on a regular day on the firsts of the months it's always packed in here, so Memorial Day weekend is going to be really packed and we're just going to have to be really watchful," said Niquanna Young, with Phillips 66.
Young says they are taking extra steps to prevent drivers from stealing fuel.
"Whenever you stick a credit card in our pump it buzzes in here, so we know if you tried to pay with a credit card, and if you didn't try to pay with a credit card and we don't see you going to your car, we know you don't have any intentions on paying it," said Young.
And Young has a message for those considering driving off.
"Don't steal gas on my watch because you will be caught, and you will pay for it," said Young.
According to the Adams County Sheriff's Department, if you are caught driving off without paying for gas, that's a class "A" misdemeanor.
You could face up to a $1000 fine and a year of jail time.
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