Gas theft awareness campaign kicks off in Toronto
By Alex Fuller
People who think gas theft is not a serious issue could soon be brought up to speed with the launching of a new awareness campaign.
Toronto Crime Stoppers, in partnership with the Canadian Fuels Association and other organizations, is spearheading the effort to spread awareness of gas theft.
Organizers hope that consumers will be encouraged to report gas theft — and that potential gas thieves will be deterred.
“We’ve been working on this for a while,” Lorne Simon of Toronto Crime Stoppers told Humber News on Tuesday. “We were going to watch it anyway because gas theft is a problem in the GTA.”
Partners in the campaign include the Canadian Fuels Association, the Ontario Convenience Stores Association and the Canadian Independent Petroleum Marketers Association.
The campaign comes after the death on Sept. 15 of Jayesh Prajapati in a “gas-and-dash” incident in Toronto.
“While this heinous crime has brought the problem of gas theft to the forefront, we hope our campaign will make people inclined to steal gas think again,” said Sean Sportun, also of Crime Stoppers, said in a news release Tuesday.
A central aspect of the campaign is the distribution of posters depicting false gas theft suspects. The images are intended to be displayed at fuel pumps as a deterrent to potential gas thieves and an encouragement to consumers to report crimes.
“The problem of the theft of gasoline has become a significantly increasing concern, and not only with respect to the loss to the retailers,” Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said in a news conference at Toronto Police Service headquarters on Tuesday. A video of the conference is viewable on YouTube.
“Stealing gas is a crime – nothing less,” said Sportun, who was also part of Tuesday’s news conference. “These incidents create a safety risk for not only retailers but the community as a whole.”
Mac’s Crime Busters, a partner of Crime Stoppers operated by the Mac’s convenience store chain, posted a video in August that reminds consumers not to hesitate when they suspect gas theft is taking place. It is viewable below.