Thieves Hacked Gas Pump to Sell Fuel at Discounted Price: Police

Police in Virginia Beach, Virginia, say that two men stole gas from a Citgo station and sold it at a discounted price through a phone app.

Officers responded to call about "suspicious activity" at the gas station on Tuesday, which was closed at the time, and saw "numerous vehicles and individuals congregating on the property, pumping gasoline," the Virginia Beach Police Department wrote in a press release that it sent to Newsweek.

In a preliminary investigation, officers found that "devices were being used to illegally access gas pumps," the department wrote.

Individuals were allegedly selling the gas at a discounted rate "through a phone application and had advertised the operation on social media" police wrote, adding that thousands of dollars in gasoline had been stolen from the station over the course of days.

Thieves Hacked Gas Pump to Sell Fuel
Police say two men in Virginia stole gas from a Citgo station and sold it at a discounted price through a phone app. Above, a Citgo gas station in Washington, D.C., January 31, 2019. Saul Loeb

Police arrested Rashsane Griffith, 24, and Deven Drumgoole, 21, both of Norfolk, Virginia, in connection with the incident. They were charged with grand larceny, conspiracy and possession of burglary tools.

Lt. Brad Wesseler of the Virginia Beach Police Department told news station WTKR said the owner of the station noticed gas was missing, but wasn't sure how it was disappearing.

"Everything on his end appeared to be normal. So, there was nothing obvious that gas was being taken," Wesseler said.

In its news release, the department said it is continuing to investigate the crime.

"Gas stations that close overnight should review security camera footage from the last few weeks to ensure they have not been victims, as well. It is recommended these businesses take extra precautions to ensure this does not happen to them in the future," police wrote.

The incident in Virginia comes as police have reported gas thefts around the country amid soaring gas prices.

In April, Newsweek reported that law enforcement officials had recently reported more than $140,000 in gas thefts across the country.

In one case in Florida, officials said thieves allegedly used a "homemade device" to steal $60,000 worth of gasoline from two different gas stations.

"This was very clearly an organized crime ring, and these suspects were not new to the business," Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said at the time. "While we have identified just over $60,000 in gas theft from seven documented events, we believe these men are responsible for far more money in theft due to their operation running nearly every day of the week."

In an incident in Utah this week, a suspected gas thief was seen on surveillance video catching himself on fire after allegedly using a drill in an attempt to siphon gas from a truck.