MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Stealing gas can have major consequences on and off base.
With gas prices rising so are thefts as people try and steal gas rather than trying to find other means of transportation than driving. The penalties in the state of North Carolina are heavy fines, a possible 120 days in jail and suspension of a person’s driver’s license, according to the North Carolina Department of Motor Transportation.
Service members are also susceptible to additional punishments including suspension of base driving privileges and being charged with larceny, which can result in Non-Judicial Punishment or court marital, which can have a variety of consequences including loss of rank and pay and possible confinement, according to Cpl. David Morse, a vehicle registration noncommissioned officer with Military Police Company, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base.
“Drive offs are actually down this year versus last year. We believe drive-offs would be up if not for current troop deployments and new preventive measures that have been put into place,” said to Carlton Mencer, director of Retail Division.
A variety of tools have been implemented to prevent gas theft, according to Mencer. Camera systems have been installed and enhanced. Credit card payment only is placed on outside lanes to provide better visibility to Sales Associates on lanes accepting cash payments. Employees have been trained to be more aware, and stations have implemented more monitoring by security personnel. Also customer awareness signs on pumps pertaining to monitoring efforts and possible repercussions have been displayed.
“Most Exchange systems nationally have imposed pre-pay to curtail drive-offs,” Mencer said. “We have no current plans to do the same. We see this as a customer service issue and will not change unless drive-offs increase. This is certainly a national problem and it does not appear anyone has a great solution other than pre-pay.”
Stealing gas not only hurts the gas stations it also hurts other people who need to fill up on gas because it forces gas stations to ultimately raise the price of gasoline, according to www.nacsonline.com.
Gasoline theft cost the industry an estimated $237 million in 2004 due to misdirected consumer anger at higher gas prices, according to www.nacsonline.com.
There are some ways that service members can save money by using alternatives to driving. People can save money on gas by putting together a car pool with other people who own cars and trade off who drives. People can also walk or ride a bike to places that aren’t far away.
This will not only help save money on gas it will also help the air quality on base and help preserve the environment.