DETROIT (FOX 2) - Some gas station owners are falling victim to a sophisticated scam. Scammers are using cellphone's Bluetooth option to hack the pump - and get it for free.
"I wish it would go back to $1.99 - it’s almost $4," said Tywanna Coleman. "I get why people are doing it but it’s still not right."
Paying at the pump is for chumps - when you can get gas for free - and illegal, but it didn’t stop a Detroit man from stealing almost 800 gallons of gas at the Shell at Eight Mile and Wyoming.
"They just open the pump for them automatically," said Mo, the gas station owner.
FOX 2: "And then cars just keep coming up and filling up?"
"Yeah they meet up with them and tell them to come over here," he said.
When Mo says "open the pump" the thief – overrides the system, basically hacking in using a Bluetooth connection from his phone, as a kind of remote. Then, it’s a free-for-all.
FOX 2: "How many gallons have they got from you guys?
"From us, about 800," Mo said.
That’s just shy of $3,000. And when the clerks inside try to stop it - they can’t.
"Every time we push Pump Three stop, it wasn’t doing anything," he said. "We have to shut off the whole pumps - we have emergency stops."
The station happens to be a Detroit police-patrolled "Project Green Light" gas station. With that comes surveillance video of a suspect who investigators are actively looking for.
But it’s not just one guy, and this maneuver is not new, just re-surfacing.
Like at a Speedway station Downriver – in Riverview this month. In that case, they used a bait-and-switch. One guy distracted the clerk with a Cash App problem inside, while the other hacked the pump.
They got away with $54 in gas.
Mo says his clerks are on high alert – if they see a big backup at a pump, or someone hanging around a little too long, they’ll call cops to check it out.
"We can only do so much," he said.