BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) - A gang of gas guzzlers ripped off a local gas station to the tune of nearly $10,000. But, it wasn't a quick smash and grab. The heist was a two hour job. It was all caught on tape.
The owners of the Bernalillo Feed and Conoco said they knew something was wrong when low fuel alarms went off in November after a slow night.
The owners checked their newly-installed surveillance cameras and realized that between six and 10 people had stolen hundreds of gallons of gas overnight.
Just after midnight on Nov. 11, a dark GMC truck pulled into the station followed by another car. Police are still looking into how he did it, but the man somehow got the pumps to work without paying. After nearly an hour, the two cars left, right in front of a passing Bernalillo police car.
Another truck pulled in about 10 minutes later. A man can be seen pushing buttons on the gas machines to get them to start. A trio of cars pumped for another hour.
When they leave, one final car pulled in. Gas tanks can be seen in the car's trunk. After seeing the heist on tape, the owners checked past nights and realized the group had hit the store three times before but never like this.
In total, store owner Frances Garcia said, "The diesel, we know for sure [they took] 600 [gallons] of unleaded. We are thinking anywhere between 1,500 [and] 2,000 gallons."
That is worth just about $10,000.
Santa Fe Police Chief Aric Wheeler said he believes this is all the work of Michael Puzak, who used to work in the fuel industry.
Investigators think he's trained this gang of gas thieves to use secret codes and cards to get into the pumps.
"Fifteen to 20 cases that we are concerned about within the greater metropolitan area," Wheeler said.
Puzak was arrested Saturday in Santa Fe for ripping off a Giant gas station.
Police are looking to see if he was at that Bernalillo Conoco when it was ripped off last month.
Police said they believe Puzak and his friends are stealing the gas to resell it.
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