High cost of fuel drive-offs

Isis Town and Country - - News - By EMMA REID

SU­PER­CAR cham­pion Craig Lown­des is one of the few driv­ers in Aus­tralia al­lowed to pull in for petrol and drive off at break-neck speed with­out pay­ing – all the rest are crim­i­nals.

Just like the man who has ripped off mul­ti­ple ser­vice sta­tions in the re­gion in the past three months.

The lat­est was the Cal­tex Appletree Creek Road­house on the Bruce Hwy last Thurs­day morn­ing.

The ser­vice sta­tion has been hit by the same man three times in the past seven weeks and busi­ness owner Dar­ren Enslin has had enough.

“We have been wait­ing for him to come back,” Mr Enslin said.

“But un­for­tu­nately, when he hit this time we had a shop full of cus­tomers. He put in his petrol and then jumped back in and took off.”

Mr Enslin said there was no in­sur­ance that cov­ered fuel drive-offs and his busi­ness had to ab­sorb the some­times ex­trav­a­gant costs.

“The thing is, if they are caught by the po­lice they are only ex­pected to re­im­burse us for the cost of the fuel,” he said.

“Where the cost to us is a lot more. For what could be $30 worth of stolen fuel could cost us $100.

“We have to cover time for staff to go through CCTV footage and to burn it and this all takes time and costs money as well.”

The of­fender is de­scribed to be aged 55–65 years, Cau­casian, 170cm in height with a grey goa­tee. He drives a blue Mit­subishi Magna with the li­cence plate 574QJQ.

Sergeant Ge­off Fay of the Childers po­lice said the man was wanted in re­la­tion to at least six petrol steal­ing of­fences, which started in Novem­ber.

Sgt Fay said the thefts in­cluded ser­vice sta­tions on Boundary St, Bund­aberg, on Novem­ber 23, Takalvan St on De­cem­ber 21, the ser­vice sta­tion near the Bund­aberg Air­port and the Tor­ban­lea ser­vice sta­tion, be­fore the most re­cent in­ci­dent at Appletree Creek.

Sgt Fay said the lat­est crime hap­pened about 7.15am last Thurs­day and the driver was said to head in a north­ern di­rec­tion.

He said the car’s reg­is­tra­tion plates were can­celled ones and it was pos­si­ble the man had swapped them around and other crimes could have been com­mit­ted but not linked to this one.

Sgt Fay said it was a big prob­lem in the fuel re­tail in­dus­try and whether it was $10 or $100, there was a higher price.

“Ev­ery­body is pay­ing for these crimes down the track,” Sgt Fay said.

“With the time and re­sources po­lice have to use to lo­cate them, it is costly to ev­ery­one.”

Mr Enslin said there were two types of petrol thefts.

“There’s the de­lib­er­ate one and then there’s the ones where they come in to buy other goods and some­times for­get,” he said.

“Or if they are a cou­ple and think the other per­son had paid for it.

“We have a good re­la­tion­ship with the Childers po­lice and they of­ten help to re­cover the fuel cost.”

Sgt Fay said peo­ple should check they paid for both food and petrol and that the at­ten­dant had charged the cor­rect amount.

“Even when peo­ple sim­ply for­get to pay for fuel and re­alise down the track but don’t go back to fix it up, they are com­mit­ting an of­fence,” he warned.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion can phone Crime Stop­pers on 1800 333 000.


THIRD THEFT: Ap­ple Tree Creek Cal­tex owner Dar­ren Enslin is sick of the same man steal­ing his fuel.

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