ROSEVILLE -- Police are urging people in Roseville to be on the lookout the next time they pull up to the gas pump after officers arrested a man committing an unlikely scam.
"We had a few reports lately about a guy who's been stealing gas from people. He would be switching nozzles on the pumps," said Josh, an ARCO cashier.
Josh works at the ARCO ampm on Pleasant Grove Boulevard in Roseville. He says he spotted a man, who has been identified as 34-year-old Jeffrey Wilson, attempting to steal gas from a customer at an adjoining pump.
"We were keeping a lookout for this guy and he happened to pull up on one of our pumps over there, and I noticed that the hoses looked kind of funny," he told FOX40.
The man switched the gas nozzle from one side to the other, tricking the unsuspecting victim into buying his gas.
The scam happened at least half a dozen times in a matter of weeks, according to ARCO employees.
At first, customers thought their pump had malfunctioned and went into the gas station to report what appeared to be a mistake.
"The victim finds out when they hop back in their car and they turn their car on and their tank has not registered any more gas. But in fact, the gas was not pumping into their side," said Rob Baquera with the Roseville Police Department.
By the time they found out they’d been robbed, the suspect in most cases had already taken off.
On Saturday, police were called to the scene just in time to catch Wilson in the act.
Although police got their man, they say the threat at the gas pump might not be over. The police department has issued an important warning to drivers so that more people don’t fall victim to copycat crimes.
"Situational awareness is key," Baquera said. "Look who's on the other side of the fuel station from you. Check your nozzle before you start to pump gas and really just be aware of your surroundings."
Wilson was cited for petty theft and later released.