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Virginia Beach police warn to not fall to desperate measures among high gas prices

After police said two men stole thousands of dollars worth of fuel, they are increasing patrols to pay attention to local gas stations.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — It's a crime Virginia Beach Police Lt. Brad Wesseler said his team has never seen before. Officers reportedly caught two men stealing gas from a station late at night.

Lt. Wesseler said the scheme started with a social media post, in which the men offered gas at half price and asked people to directly message them for details.

Virginia Beach police said the men used a certain technology to bypass the gas pump credit card machine to steal almost $14,000 dollars worth of fuel. Detectives said drivers paid the men through a money-sharing app.

"We're learning more about this crime more and more every day," said Wesseler.

Wesseler said he understands financial hardships can push some people to take desperate measures, but he said you'll pay a lot more for getting involved in a crime.

"They're not paying the business directly. They're not putting their credit into the pump. They're really meeting with someone, paying on a Cash App, and that is illegal," said Wesseler. "We want you to reverse the situation if that was your friend or family running their business...This isn't just a little bit of money. This is tens of thousands of dollars from just one store."

However, Lt. Wesseler said this isn't the only type of crime police are noticing at the pump. He said police saw crimes, such as robberies and gun activity, at gas stations have increased significantly over the past month.

“Regionally, I think there were two people who lost their lives at a gas station...We're really focusing on the true crimes, the true suspects that are really driving the crime in Virginia Beach," said Wesseler.

Wesseler said Virginia Beach police are now increasing patrols around gas stations. He said it's also up to the people to be smart and protect themselves when at the pump.

"It's important to make an effort, to look around you, and be aware of your surroundings," said Wesseler. "Look at your car before you get in, make sure you lock your car when you get out. Park in well-lit areas. Let people know where you are."

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