Police in Arnold investigate an average of 200 gas drive-offs a year. Recently the Board of Aldermen passed a new ordinance to tackle the problem.
Police Chief Robert Shockey told News 4, "With this in place you have to pay for your gas before you pump, we should eliminate drive offs 100 percent."
The ordinance requires gas stations to program gas pumps to limit sales to credit card purchases at the pump or cash payments made inside the store before pumping. Shockey said it's a crime that's hard to solve because thieves often put stolen license plates on their cars.
"If they have video in the right spot and we get a plate we can usually chase them down but I would say we probably clear less than half of them," said Shockey.
Some customers said it might inconvenience them and some stores complained that fewer customers will come inside to purchase other items.
The chief said he believes customers will adjust to the change and his officers will no longer spend hundreds of hours a year investigating a preventable crime.
Shockey said, "So it's time that we could spend somewhere else to make the community safer."
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