MANVEL, Texas — Eight people who were arrested are accused of being part of a large-scale, fuel theft ring that ended up stealing more than 100,000 gallons of fuel from gas stations in the Houston region. Eight others are sought in connection with the crime ring.
Authorities with the Manvel Police Department and the Texas Financial Crimes Intelligence Center said they think the suspects are responsible for more than 60 cases of fuel theft between February 2022 and October 2022.
How did they do it?
Law enforcement officials said the suspects were able to manipulate fuel pump systems that measure how much fuel is being dispersed.
It's called "pulsar tampering." They use a device that attaches to the pump and keeps the fuel flowing while only charging them for a fraction of what they actually took.
Investigators said the thieves stole the fuel and took it to truck yards, where they sold it to truck drivers at a discounted rate.
Law enforcement officials said the crime hurts more than just the gas station from which they're stealing.
"It undercuts the legitimate truck drivers in the industry who are then not able to compete in a fair market because they are trying to do things in an ethical and right manner," FCIC's Jeff Headley said.
Officials said the crimes drive up the prices at the pump while also circumventing taxes that should be paid to the state.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the suspects who have not been arrested is asked to call Manvel PD at 281-489-1212.
The suspects are charged with engaging in organized crime and evading motor fuel tax, both first-degree felonies. Their bonds were set at $500,000 each.
Eight other suspects believed to be part of the crime ring have not been arrested.
If convicted, the suspects would face up to 99 years in prison.