WOODLAND HILLS (CBSLA.com) — The owner of two San Fernando Valley gas stations has grown increasingly frustrated by a sharp rise in fuel thefts – as well as customers who are taking advantage of broken gas pumps.
KNX 1070′s Ed Mertz reports thieves have recently targeted at least two gas stations in Woodland Hills owned by Jeffrey Elbaum.
“The thieves have figured out a way to bypass the meter without bypassing the pump,” said Elbaum, who said his stations have been hit six times in the last week.
At least two suspects have been spotted by security cameras as they drive up to a pump, open the driver-side door to mask their operation, and use an unidentified device to reset prices at the targeted pump to zero.
An accomplice is then seen pulling behind the first vehicle and filling up empty barrels with hundreds of gallons of gas.
Elbaum – who estimated losses of thousands of gallons of gas so far, and as much as 800 gallons in a single day – said the thefts have also stolen his faith in his own customers, several of whom have made off with free gas without notifying him of the problem.
“A lot of these people don’t have the decency to tell us that the pump has been disabled,” Elbaum said. “I’m more disappointed in customers taking advantage.”
Elbaum has filed a police report, but no comment could be obtained by the LAPD on Sunday night.