HIGH POINT, N.C. — With the average price of gas at $4/gallon these days, it appears crooks are getting creative.
"Nothing like this has ever happened," Hardik Patel said.
Patel owns the Bizzy Bee Grocery and BP gas station on North Main Street in High Point.
Police are investigating after someone stole 400 gallons of gas late Monday night after the store was closed.
"All that with the gas prices being higher, it's about $1,600, give or take," Patel said.
Police said they got a call around 11:10 p.m. about a suspicious vehicle at the gas station. They said a witness reported seeing a gold Hyundai Sonata occupied by one man and another man standing outside the car. An employee told WFMY News 2 the men were there for about 45 minutes.
"I got a call from the police department a little after 11 saying that there was something going on with your pumps, and by the time we got here and see, police were here already; about three cops and when we looked on the camera we see about 45 minutes, about 15 to 20 cars in and out and pumping gas," Patel said.
Police don't know how many cars were involved. They said they are still investigating.
"Even once we close, we don't see the cars, like maybe one or two here and there, but we don't see like 10 to 15 cars at a time," Patel said.
Patel said the suspects were somehow able to "bypass" the gas pump computer system so that it would just pump gas without payment.
Ron Pierce, a cyber security expert with Trinity Solutions, Inc., explained how this could happen.
"Whoever this was, they knew something about those gas pumps. They either knew how to go in and program or reset them to factory, but they knew a way to say, forget what you know and do what I tell you to do," Pierce said.
Patel said in the meantime, he'll be warning other people he knows who work at gas stations.
If you have any information, give police a call.