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Paying for someone else's gas? Gas pump schemers are hoping you won't notice

An ARCO gas station in Sacramento County caught the suspects on camera swapping the nozzles. The customers were ultimately refunded.

ANTELOPE, Calif. — A reported gas pump scheme in Sacramento County could have some people pumping gas only to realize that it didn't make it into their tank.

With gas prices soaring, some are stooping to new lows to save a buck.

Surveillance video shows two drivers pull up to a fuel station at the ARCO on Watt Avenue and Blackfoot Way Sunday. The men quickly swap the nozzles, and one drives away as they wait for unsuspecting customers to pull up.

Manager Bobby Johl shared the video to spread awareness.

“It was real quick, only took a second," Johl said, "But you can see now, the hose comes across the pump instead of on the side itself."

He says, when the victims pulled up and started pumping gas, the suspect started his meter too and counted on the victims not to notice they were paying for his gas.

Johl said It’s the first time in his career that he’s seen this, and customers were also left shocked.

"Crazy! It’s mad times we’re living in, you know. That someone would even think about doing that," said customer Michael Scott.

However, the unlikely trick isn’t brand new. In 2019, Roseville Police Department arrested a man accused of pulling off the same scheme at least a dozen times.

Police say customers should take a moment to verify the hose is connected to the correct pump.

Johl says a simple way to protect yourself is to start and stop the pump and check the meter. If it stops too, then you can keep going. He says the gas station refunded the customers and reported the theft to its corporate offices and to the sheriff’s office. But he wants to warn others.

“I know people are going through hard times, but everybody is. So, don’t cheat your neighbor,” Johl said.

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