HUFFINGTON POST
03/20/2012 01:44 pm ET Updated Mar 20, 2012

Rising Gas Prices Making Thieves More Creative

Some customers simply won't stand for record-breaking fuel prices and are taking creative measures to avoid paying full price for gas.

Thieves with tool kits are waging war on gas stations, opening and rigging pumps to slow down the cost meter as gas flows into their tanks, WSB-TV Atlanta reported.

Honest customers that buy gas from a pump that has been rigged also end up pumping free gas. Station owners typically don’t notice the fraud until the end of the week when they review their accounts. This practice has cost some gas station owners thousands of dollars, according to WSB-TV.

One thief blocked surveillance cameras to steal 400 gallons in 30 minutes--filling not only his tank, but also containers he had inside of his van, an Atlanta-area gas station owner told WSB-TV.

Meter-manipulating thieves are not the only ones preying on gas pumps. Earlier this month, suspects were arrested in Southern California for stealing other customers’ credit and debit card information by installing a high-tech device inside gas pumps, according to ABC News. These “skimmers,” as they're called, have been at it for a while across the country, ABC News reported.

To avoid being scammed, Sgt. Steven Jenkinson with the Torrance Police Department told ABC News that people should pay inside with cash and check their bank statements for extraneous charges.

WATCH WSB-TV's video on gas pump scammers:

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