Mother and son charged with stealing gas

Silent alarm inside gas pump alerted police

ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Royal Palm Beach gas station owner's decision to install more security led to the arrest of a mother and her son, charged with stealing gas.

It happened around 11 o'clock Tuesday night at the Chevron station on Okeechobee Boulevard in Royal Palm Beach.

Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputies arrested 56 year old Paula Hunt and her son, 35 year old Justin Stabley. Deputies say Stabley, who once worked as a petroleum technician for Tiger Enterprises, used keys he had from the job to open a gas pump and fill six gas cans as well as his own car, all without paying.

Deputies caught Stabley and his mother after a silent alarm inside the pump triggered a call to authorities. The gas station owner, Lee Margolis, said he had the alarms installed after several break-ins to his gas pumps. The stolen gas never even registers in the store.

"At minimum, five of my stores have been hit," he said, "(with) at least $10,000 in damages."

The alarm system uses magnetic contacts similar to ones you'd find in a home security system.

"We provided something called wireless transmitters that are located in the vicinity of the pump," explained ADT Small Business Sales Representative Harvey Keiser, who helped design the system. "It sends a signal to a receiver inside the gas station which triggers an alarm."

Margolis is now outfitting all of his pumps with sensors to make sure this crime doesn't happen again.

Hunt and Stabley were released on their own recognizance Wednesday morning. They're due in court next month.

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