More and more people cannot fill their gas tanks unless they pay for the gas first. One chain of convenience stores has gone entirely to pre-pay operations, because people have driven off without paying for their gas.It’s an increasing problem says the head of the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Operators, Ron Leone. Leone says the higher the price of gas, the more thieves there are. Leone cannot calculate how much is stolen in Missouri, but national statistics place the loss in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Missouri has had a law for four years that says a person who drives away without paying for gas will lose his driver’s license. But Leone says the law has not been enforced by police as much as it should be. He says law enforcement does not see these crimes as high priority, although the average loss for every gas station in the contry last year was $2,100, more than double the total for 2003. And Leone says it’s only going to get worse this year.
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