ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — In Roseville, a man is accused of stealing hundreds of dollars in gas right under the nose of unsuspecting customers. Police are calling this unique theft at the gas pump a first of its kind.
Police arrested Jeffrey Wilson for petty theft this week. He’s accused of targeting people at the AMPM on Pleasant Grove Boulevard.
The scam works like this: The scammer pulls up to one side of a fueling station and switches the nozzles from one side of the station to the other. When the unsuspecting victim pulls up to the opposite side of the same fuel station, pays for the gas, and begins to pump, the scammer starts to pump gas from the other side of the fuel station. The victim sees their fuel pump cycle as if gas is being pumped. Unknowingly they’re paying for the gas of the scammer.
“It’s just one of those things to keep your eyes open for,” says AMPM Manager Josh Corral.
He’s caught Jeffrey Wilson stealing gas from his work before.
“Before he would go on that side where there is no line of sight from the window so we wouldn’t be able to see him,” Corral said.
Usually targeting older people, Wilson’s got away with this at least five times in the last few months. But this past Saturday was different.
“We’ve just been keeping an eye out for him and finally got him,” Corral said.
He saw Wilson’s car, lingering at pump 11 and called the police.
“He just pick it up moseyed on over and it’s as easy as that. When somebody picks up the pump they don’t even notice they’re pumping pump 11’s gas not 12.”
Police say Wilson waits to make sure the timing is just right, so the victim doesn’t suspect a thing.
“The scammer is there waiting for the moment for when the victim engages, the gas pump and at the exact same time they engage their pump,” said Rob Baquera with the Roseville Police Department.
Police say it’s a creative way to steal a couple bucks and now they want customers to be aware so you’re not feeling the extra pain at the pump.
It’s a crime that surprises customers we spoke with in Roseville.
“I think it’s really sneaky, I usually hide my pin that’s what I’m worried about,” said Ed Stanley from Sacramento.
“It’s frustrating, but it’s not unlikely. Scams happen everywhere, I don’t think we’re exempt,” said Sara Jimenez from Roseville.
Police arrested and cited Wilson for petty theft. It’s believed he’s stolen $60 to $100 dollars every time he’s stolen from the pump. He’s been released, which is also why police want the community to be aware of this series of thefts.