Wright County Gas Drive-Off Program
In the past 12 months the Wright County Sheriff’s Office has responded to 944 calls for service to convenience stores and service stations reporting fuel no-pays/drive-offs. Less than 7% of these cases resulted in charges being filed. Most if not all of these incidents could have been avoided had retailers opted to require “pay before you pump” policies.
Minnesota statute 604.15 provides a civil process for service stations and convenience stores to recover losses and fee’s associated with gas drive-offs prior to involving law enforcement. For business’s wishing to continue their policy of “pump before you pay” the Minnesota Service Station & Convenience Store Association (MSSA) has adopted a procedure to help recover the costs associated with these gas drive-offs. For more information on the MSSA Drive Off Program please visit https://mnssa.com/formstools/ .
Effective December 1st, 2019, Wright County businesses wishing to submit a gas drive-off for criminal investigation by the Sheriff’s Office must first complete the notice of nonpayment process laid out in MN Statute 604.15 or in the MSSA Gas Drive-Off Program. If there has been no resolution during the 30-day notice period the business may than request a criminal investigation. The following criteria must be submitted to our office prior to an investigation being initiated:
- The retailer must provide an accurate description of the vehicle, license plate number, and description of the suspect.
- The retailer must provide video/digital imaging which captures the suspect vehicle license plate number as well as the suspect dispensing the fuel.
- The retailer must complete a Wright County Sheriff’s Office Motor Vehicle Fuel Theft Report which is available on-line at http://www.co.wright.mn.us/214/Sheriff .
- The retailer must provide a copy of the Notice and Demand of Payment for Motor Fuel along with the certified mail receipt showing the 30-day waiting period has passed.
- The retailer must provide a copy of a signed statement by the employee who reported the act describing what the employee observed.
This information should be sent to WCSO Gas Drive-Off Program, 3800 Braddock Ave NE, Buffalo MN 55313.
Retailers are still encouraged to call 911 as soon as a drive-off occurs. If a deputy is available, they will check the area in an attempt to locate and stop the offender. It is important that an accurate description of the vehicle, license plate, suspect, and last known direction of travel are given to the 911 operator, so this information can be passed on to responding deputies.