GAMBIER — It’s not unusual these days to see in the law reports where someone pumped gas at a station then drove off without paying. In most cases, the incident is reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency. Some stations have cameras and can get a license number to track down the suspect.
But when it happened Monday at Campus Auto, owner Jim Lee wasn’t going to take it lying down. He jumped in his car and took off after the offender who had pumped $87 worth of gas.
“I was waiting on a customer in the office last Monday and heard the pump ring,” Lee said. “I saw him drive off, so I followed him and got his tag number.”
Lee followed him to Horn Road, called the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, told a dispatcher what happened and where he was. A deputy was there in a matter of a few minutes, Lee said.
“I called the sheriff when I was behind the guy,” Lee said. “They got there pretty quick and stopped the guy and arrested him. What they told me was he was driving under suspension and on probation.”
Lee said most gasoline dealers only make a few cents per gallon, depending on how it’s paid for. Stealing $87 worth of gas is a big financial hit under any circumstances.
“I didn’t get the money back,” Lee said. “I don’t know if I will get it back but one thing I know for sure — I showed that guy he can’t get away with that in Gambier.”
According to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, John A. McDonald, Gambier, was apprehended for theft without consent.
McDonald was released on his own recognizance on Tuesday following a not guilty plea in Mount Vernon Municipal Court. A pretrial hearing will take place March 9 at 9 a.m. Trial is scheduled for March 23.