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The Texas Financial Crimes Intelligence Center and fuel industry partners warn of a new fuel theft method employed by suspects.

  • Suspects gain access to the internal section of the fuel pump cabinet and manipulate the valve coil wire with taps (aka pigtails). Suspects appear to be using a power source (such as, two 9-volt batteries, in series) to disrupt the 24-volt valve.
  • By powering the valve, with an external power source and with the prestart initiated, suspects can simply pull the nozzle and dispense fuel freely.
  • If the prestart is turned off, suspects can go to the other side of the dispenser and authorize the grade for which they are powering the valve. This activates the STP motor and gain fuel will pump freely from the nozzle.
  • Important to note: Pulser shields will NOT deter this method, as suspects simply hit the pulser wires at the valve board, which is not covered by the shield.
  • Industry experts indicated most door security measures will NOT stop this method. Ceasing power to the dispenser will only encourage suspects to use another fuel dispenser to activate the motor.
  • Fuel industry partners advised this fuel theft trend is on the rise.
  • Previous fuel theft crime trends and suspect’s ability to communicate quickly among organized groups will likely increase cases related to this type of theft.