Shame not enough to stop gas-and-dash thieves, owner says

A St. John's gas bar manager wants the provincial government to create new laws that would require consumers to pay before they pump.

Pay-before-you-pump law introduced in B.C. five years ago

A gas bar owner wants a new law to deter crime, reports Jen White 2:04

A St. John's gas bar manager has taken to posting security-camera images of people who have filled their tanks without paying for them, and wants the provincial government to create new laws to deter the practice.

Jim Murphy, who manages a Canadian Tire gas bar on Torbay Road, said his business loses as much as $5,000 a year to gas-and-dash robberies.

To deter repeat offenders, Murphy takes images from security video of the offenders and posts them in his store.

"Those particular individuals who did the theft here, they didn't come back anymore to do their thefts," Murphy told CBC News.

"I'm sure either they or someone that they knew said, 'Your picture is posted in this gas station.'"

Murphy, though, wants a long-term solution to what he sees as a chronic problem for gas retailers, and which he also says is a serious workplace safety issue.

Murphy is lobbying for pre-paid gas laws, similar to legislation that came into effect in British Columbia in 2008. Grant's Law was named after a Maple Ridge teenager who was killed when an escaping car dragged him. The attendant was trying to prevent a 2005 robbery over a gas bill worth $12.30.

In 2012, a gas attendant in Toronto was killed in a similar incident, sparking calls in Ontario for a pay-first law for service stations.

"It's a little bit of a different change, but it's not any difficulty to anybody," Murphy said.

"No cost involved to the government, and in fact there should be some cost savings because I won't have to call the police anymore to report our thefts."