A York MPP has released data on gas-and-dash facts to help boost support for pre-payment at gasoline stations in light of a Shell employee’s death in the community in September.
Eglinton-Lawrence MPP Mike Colle released data on pre-payment statistics in other parts of Canada and the United States, along with the number of gas-and-dash thefts in Toronto and GTA. According to statistics released by Colle, pre-payment has virtually eliminated gas-and-dash thefts in British Columbia, and Saskatchewan is also looking into pre-payment.
Many U.S. municipalities have passed ordinances enacting pre-payment laws, and 27 states have passed legislation authorizing suspension of driver’s licences for people convicted of stealing gas. In September, Colle introduced a private member’s bill, “Jayesh’s Law”, to help curb gas thefts days after Jayesh Prajapati, 44, was hit and dragged at the Shell station at Marlee and Roselawn avenues Sept. 15 by a driver who allegedly fled after filling up $112.85 in gas and not paying.
The bill calls for pre-payment of gas before pumping and the suspension of driver’s licences for those convicted of gas theft. “Our office is trying to track down how many incidents have occurred across Toronto and surrounding areas,” Colle said. “It’s a bigger problem than just the number reported. Halton doesn’t keep a record at all and the OPP just started. The message we are trying to get across to people is it’s a very dangerous act and endangers the life of the attendant or people pumping gas. We are trying to remind people how wide-spread this criminal activity is and to keep an eye out for this type of thing. We want to keep gas-and-dash in the public’s eye. These people get away with murder.”
Colle said it takes about a year to get laws changed and he’s not giving up his fight to make gas pre-payment mandatory.
“I’m not letting go of this thing,” he said. “We owe it to the families of these workers who serve us. Gas stations shouldn’t be high-risk places of work.”
Police are looking for Max Edwin Tutiven, 39, of Toronto, who is wanted for second-degree murder in Prajapati’s death.
Reported gas theft incidents in the GTA in 2012 to date:
• Toronto - 1,087 (to September).
• York Region - 916 (to December)
• Peel Region - 507 (from December 2011).
• Durham Region - 211 (to December).
• Halton Region - statistics not available.
- Statistics provided by the individual police service to Eglinton-Lawrence MPP Mike Colle