Posted: 5:53 a.m. Thursday, July 3, 2014

Thief steals 2,000 gallons of gas from open gas station

PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. —

A bold thief stole 2,000 gallons of gas from a Dallas gas station while it was open.
 
The theft happened June 24 at a Shell station on Charles Hardy Parkway.
 
The station manager says someone went right to the opening to the underground tanks and pumped gas into a large truck, possibly a tanker.
 
"The average person couldn't do this," said Khalil Balushi. "It's a professional."
 
He says the haul totaled around $7,000. He says the loss was only noticed when the service that refills the tanks noticed a steep drop in fuel level.
 
The manager believes the crime happened between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. 
 
"They must have been watching the station for a while," he said. "It's 24 hours and stays busy all the time."
 
Channel 2's Carl Willis talked with the Paulding County Sheriff's Office spokesman. He says they have no leads, and surveillance cameras failed to capture any part of the incident.
 
Balushi says the cameras were pointed at an entrance rather than the tanks. He says that's been corrected, but that doesn't help the case.
 
 "It's a lot of gas," said Khalil Balushi. "It will happen again. What they do, they will turn around and sell it on the market (for) black market prices."
 
The manager says without video evidence proving the gas was stolen, the store owner will be unable to file an insurance claim and will have to take the loss.
 
The business relies on sales in the convenience store. They pay for the gas up front and only make pennies for each gallon that they sell.
 
Balushi hopes that investigators get a lead before another small business is targeted.
 
"Things like that will affect them," he said. "It will run them out of business quickly." 
 
Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call the Paulding County Sheriff's Office at 770-443-3015.

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