CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Investigators have arrested the alleged ringleader of a group who stole nearly 300 gallons of gas from a Shell gas station on Sunset Road in North Charlotte.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said the incident occurred about 10:15 p.m. on March 16. The suspect was able to take down the computers in gas pumps, after which he filled up the gas in a line of cars. The value of the gas stolen is valued at over $1,000.

The suspect, who has not been named, is charged with felony fraud/hacking/computer invasion, felony larceny, and assorted drug charges. His vehicle, a 2005 Toyota Tundra, was also seized.

A gas station attendant called 911 and told investigators that he received a notification that the gas pumps had been shut down. Investigators said the main suspect pumped gas into the cars while another one waved cars through and a third one hacked into the gas pumps.

CMPD has not yet announced any other arrests in this case.

When officers arrived, a line of cars that were waiting to get gas left. The suspects remained on scene and were promptly arrested.

With gas prices on the rise nationwide as well as a rise in similar crimes, CMPD is offering a few tips to protect yourself:

  • Keep a watchful eye out
  • If you see an unusual number of cars at a gas station while nearby gas stations have a regular flow of traffic, that may be an issue
  • If a stranger asks you to pay them for gas or you see an individual pumping from multiple pumps at a time

If you see anything suspicious, call 911 immediately.

“It is best to pay for gas traditionally at the pump or directly with the gas station clerk. Crimes like these have a huge impact on the community, especially businesses that are locally owned,” said CMPD.