Thieves Steal 400 Gallons of Gas as Cars Wait in Line for Free Fuel

As the U.S. battles record-high gas prices, people are becoming more and more desperate to stock up on fuel sources, and at a gas station in North Carolina, thieves managed to steal roughly 400 gallons of gas on Monday night.

The national gas price average set a new record since 2008 four days in a row last week, as economic sanctions between the U.S. and Russia in response to the February 24 invasion of Ukraine have driven up oil prices in recent weeks.

In North Carolina, fuel prices remain at just over $4 a gallon, according to the American Automobile Association, and the Bizzy Bee Grocery and Gas station in High Point suffered a blow when thieves stole 400 gallons of gas in only 45 minutes.

A report from the High Point Police Department sent to Newsweek stated that the amount of gas stolen was initially estimated to be valued at around $1,200, but the department said later that, as the investigation continues, the amount is likely to be closer to $1,600.

The report detailed that at approximately 11 p.m., police responded to the store "in reference to a suspicious vehicle call."

"Upon arrival I saw a gold Hyundai Sonata occupied by one male and another male standing outside the vehicle. It was later learned that over four hundred gallons of gasoline was taken," the report said.

The owner of the store, Hardik Patel, told WGHP that the men in question waited until the store was closed before stealing the gas. A surveillance video shown to WGHP showed a person pointing a device at the pumps, allowing gas to be released.

Patel said that at one point, the gas station started to fill up with cars waiting in line to get free gas, and the surveillance video allegedly shows a person helping cars fill their tanks with free gas, reported WGHP.

A Petroleum Technician said that the thieves most likely used a device that is inserted into the pump, putting it into "dispense mode," which releases gas from the pump for free.

Trey Barker told WGHP, "The reason dispensers have this option is so petroleum technicians, and N.C. Weight and Measures can test and calibrate dispensers."

The incident in High Point is one of several in the last few weeks, as gas prices continue to push people to extreme behaviors.

More than 1,000 gallons of gas was stolen from an underground tank at a family-owned gas station in Houston over the course of three days, and several more incidents in Wisconsin and New Hampshire prompted police departments to issue warnings against the dangers of gas siphoning.

Poison Control warned that siphoning gas can be extremely dangerous, and offers information on how to protect against poisoning on its website Poison.org.

Newsweek reached out to Bizzy Bee Grocery for additional comment.

Update 3/16/2022 3:20 p.m. EDT: This story has been updated to include more information from the High Point Police Department.

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A gas station in North Carolina reported a theft of up to 400 gallons of gas on Monday night as prices continue to rise above $4 a gallon. Above, a gasoline pump sits in a holder at an Exxon gas station in Washington, D.C., on March 13. STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images