Gas Drive-Offs | VideoAlex Hagan | 12/11/2012
There are many more drivers out on the roads in Bismarck as the population approaches 70,000 and that tends to have an influence on gas drive-offs. Station employees say there are more thefts in Bismarck and out west.
"Some days it will happen so many times you want to pull your hair out. It`s crazy," said Pony Express manager Justin Nagel.
"The one in Mandan, I would say probably couple times a month at least," said attendant Annie Holeton.
Nagel says he sometimes gets one to two drive-offs a day. Thefts can either be accidental or on purpose, but either way, gas station employees are more vigilant.
"When people take too long to come in they try to get their plate numbers, just to be safe, And if people know they`re being watched, they`re less likely to do that," said Cenex manager Christi Keller.
Bismarck Police say the number of reports has increased over the past few years, but it hasn`t become rampant.
"They stayed pretty stable. It seems like if we get a big spike in gas prices we tend to see a few more gas drive offs, typical," said Deputy Chief Randy Ziegler.
Many gas stations in North Dakota don`t require customers to pay before filling up, but law enforcement say that could bring down the number of gas drive-offs.
"Anything we can do to bring those calls down, we`re going to look at that as a positive and I think pre-pay is something that will eventually come to the Bismarck area," Ziegler said.
Gas stations are already looking forward to when that does happen.
"I don`t see why it wouldn`t happen, it`s happened everywhere else in the country. We`re just about the last state left where you can pull up and fill without any form of payment," Nagel said.
Not paying for gas could result in 30 days in jail or a $1,000 fine.
Some Fargo gas stations have already implemented pre-pay.
Getting caught twice for not paying for gas could result in a license suspension for three months.