STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — A local gas station owner is hoping to curb absent-minded motorists who sometimes drive away with the nozzle still in their vehicle.
Frank Salation installed a sophisticated security 32-camera system at the Mobil gas station he and his wife run in Studio City.
“I spent around $10,000 with the upgrade of all new cameras,” he said. “Because I have too many drive-offs. They average between two and four drive-offs a week.”
Salation’s cameras recently caught a woman attempt to leave with the nozzle hanging from her car. When she realized what happened, the woman exited her vehicle and placed the nozzle, which had broken off from the hose, back into the pump without ever reporting the incident.
Julianna Jackson admitted she made the same mistake when she was 16.
“I think I was distracted and just so much (was) going on. Then I got in the car. When it happens, you hear a loud pop. You actually think you’ve hit something, so there’s no way you can’t hear it,” she said. “People, I think, are scared when it happens. They freak out and then they leave.”
Salation said the incidents are not only costly, but the damaged pump needs to be repaired within 24 hours or the whole system can shut down.
“We need to check the nozzle, the hose… and most likely, those have been damaged. So we have to replace them. And they go between $750 to $1,400 to $1,500,” he said.
Salation said he set the cameras up at every angle to catch the unknowing culprits.
“(We get the) person’s picture…also, we get the plate number and the car models, and we give the information to the lawyer, and the lawyer can follow him and make the case,” he said.
CBS2’s Amy Johnson said if a driver makes the mistake, his or her insurance may cover some of the cost.