People are finding more and more ways to steal gas as prices continue to skyrocket.
WFLA reports that four Florida men were arrested this week for installing a tool—or “pulsators”—on gas pumps that cuts the prices of fuel. The alleged thefts took place earlier this month at a Circle K in Lutz, where state officials apprehended Marlon Rosel-Rodriguez and Yordan Diaz Benitez, and a Circle K in Lakeland, where Yulier Garcia-Martinez and Rogelio Llarena were arrested.
Ned Bowman, the president of the Florida Petroleum Marketers Association, explained how the devices work. “They go in and they change the pulsator. The pulsator is the device that is inside the gas pump that regulates the flow of the fuel,” he said. “So they’re able to change the price of the fuel down to a nickel or a penny to the gallon and fill the back of their trucks up—their bladders or spare tanks—with fuel that’s basically free.”
According to officials, Garcia-Martinez also had a remote device to use for the pulsators. Rosel-Rodriguez was apprehended while trying to install the device on a pump.
“Anytime that we’re seeing a theft like this, or actual fraud, we have zero tolerance,” Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried said. “And we’re going to come in and it’s a very clear symbol to anyone that may be thinking of doing something like this—we’re going to catch you.”
“These are criminal rings,” Bowman told the New York Post. “I think you are going to see this expand.”
News of the pulsators follow stories from last week, where reports from across the country revealed that people have been drilling holes in car gas tanks to directly steal fuel. Another report emerged that thieves in Texas allegedly used a “trap door” and siphoned over 1,000 gallons of diesel.