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Published May 23, 2013, 06:05 PM

More people trying to beat gas price jump with drive-offs

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Have record high gas prices got you counting even your nickels and dimes at the pump? Some people aren't bothering to pay at all.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Have record high gas prices got you counting even your nickels and dimes at the pump? Some people aren't bothering to pay at all.

F-M area gas stations are seeing more drive offs and they're getting more frequent as gas prices climb.

The problem comes when gas stations don't require people to pay before they pump, meaning people can fill up, and just drive off.

Cenex here in Fargo recently upgraded to the prepay method, after seeing a spike in people doing just that. But some recent targets for thieves haven't made the switch.

Kody Liebenow, Fargo: "It's kind of surprising how much it can go up just overnight."

As prices tick up, thieves come out to take full advantage.

Liebenow: "A lot of people, they're trying to get by as it was before."

In the last week, we've seen both record high gas prices and more than 15 reported gas drive offs across the metro.

Liebenow: "I don't see it as a surprise at all."

Brandon Krabbenhoft, Moorhead: "Kind of makes sense. People just drive away."

One of the targets is the new Holiday in Moorhead. Sitting right off the interstate and not requiring pre-pay. Dispatchers have received four calls in only three days and the station has even more cases being handled civilly.

Lt. Tory Jacobson, Moorhead Police: "I would actually encourage all of the workers to be conscientious of the fact that they're losing more if somebody leaves as the price goes up.”

The manager at this Holiday would not go on camera, but he tells me they even have the ability to zoom in on people's plates if they try to get away.

Jacobson: "We all know gas is really expensive so when something is going to hit somebody in the pocketbook, and they're the kind of person who is going to take advantage, I'd certainly be suspicious."

Anyone hoping to save that quick buck could wind up facing criminal charges, steep fines, and driving suspensions…

Liebenow: "I would feel absolutely terrible, I couldn't do it."

As well as a $30 service fee, and restitution.

Krabbenhoft: "I don't think it's worth it."

As you can see gas stations post warnings about drive off consequences right here on the pump, hoping people will think twice before skipping town.

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