Woman who found trick to pump free gas charged with felony theft

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2024/03/12/woman-who-found-pump-trick-to-get-free-gas-charged-with-felony-theft.html


I wonder if she could have gotten away with it longer if she hadn’t gotten greedy.


Yeah if she’d only been getting gas for her own vehicle she could have at least tried playing stupid (“I always swipe my loyalty card twice out of habit, I didn’t know it wasn’t going on my credit card” or whatever). Stealing thousands of gallons and selling the excess to others pretty much ruins any chance that defense might have had.


Yup, that’s some good detective work there Lou!

season 14 episode 3 GIF


IANAL, but if I were the petrol-suppliers with the dodgy software, I think I’d’ve been grateful to the customer for exposing this loophole.
Hoisted by own petard here, I think, by trying to sell the excess on.


For me, knowing there’s a card attached to the transaction means I wouldn’t do it more than once. Knowing there are cameras everywhere now also adds to that.

But years ago I noticed one pump at my favorite spot would dribble out gas in a steady stream after I was finished pumping. I would sit there holding the spigot pretending to look at my phone for a good 3-4 minutes and “suddenly realize” the pump had stopped. “Oh, I must be done”, go on my way with an extra cup or two of gas in the tank.


I can neither confirm nor deny that there was one dryer in my college dorm that would start with a press of the Start button, even if no coins were inserted.


Or that wonky pool table in Monifieth that would release the balls if you accidentally lifted one side.




I remember one of those in school too.

They never lasted long because once more than a couple people knew the secret the vending machine guy would figure it out when the coin box didn’t have any quarters in it.

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True. When are they going to arrest the oil co execs who’ve stolen trillions in price gouging over the last couple of years?


The most sure-fire way to get away with theft is to be rich enough to ensure your preferred kind of theft is legal.


Frankly that’s a lot safer than dumping the petrol on to the forecourt where it might cause a fire.

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“But Judge! It’s a rewards card! It says so right on the front!”


My coworker found and uses a bus pass that has been stuck on ‘transfer’ mode for 3 years. Our transit org can’t find their wee-wee in the dark so he has zero worry about getting caught.

$35/week is what he isn’t spending. Adds up.


I’m trying to think about specifically which law she was breaking. I think a good attorney can probably put up a few solid defenses on this one, including some having to do with commercial code that deals with negotiated prices. The closest thing on a hacking front that comes to mind were the mini ATMs that had default passwords that were entered and changed the internal currency from $20 to $1 but that included “hacking” by gaining unauthorized access and actually making a change.

Seems like she was using it in the manner in which it was intended.

She was genuinely greedy… and genuinely too stupid to play stupid…

“… and had begun selling it to others by the time they caught her.”

I wonder if they’ll now go after those who knowingly bought stolen gas from her, some of whom may have been relatives and friends. Stupid, stupid, stupid.



We had a beer machine in our barracks common room that would give the Heineken away. I may have been the only one who liked the hops. I didn’t share that one and nobody ever mentioned it to me.


There was a vending machine at my workplace that “didn’t” accept bills over $5, but the bill accepter part apparently recognized it. I could put in a $20, I would be given $5 credit because that’s the highest amount the rest of the machine could understand. I could then hit the change return button without making a selection, and it would give me back 4 “$5” bills, including the twenty I just put in and three more fives.

I discovered this accidentally, and reported it anonymously. Eventually.