Cape Girardeau fuel merchants have voluntarily agreed to implement a prepay policy, taking effect May 1, to help reduce losses from drivers that leave without paying.
Striving for increased effectiveness and community service, the City of Cape Girardeau Police Department recently met with the merchants to gauge the severity of people driving off without paying for fuel and look for possible solutions. Merchants in attendance agreed that a prepay policy was the only sure way to try and prevent future losses.
The Police Department has investigated 306 instances during the past seven months where someone drove off without paying for fuel. Currently, one particular officer spends more than 80 percent of his time investing these incidents. The officer made the following observations:
- Many gas drive off reports contain limited information, which hampers the officer’s ability to locate a suspect;
- many incidents are unintentional, resulting in no criminal charges and the matter is settled when the subject pays their bill;
- and the Police Department expends significant time and resources to investigate cases that rarely result in criminal charges.
“By eliminating or reducing situations like these, we can free up Police resources to focus on areas that are most beneficial to the community as a whole,” said Interim Police Chief Roger Fields.
The Police Department will assist merchants in designing a municipal ordinance regarding payment that the merchants may present to the City Council.
For more information regarding the upcoming prepay policy, please contact the Police Department at 573-335-6621.