Early Wednesday morning, a would-be gas heist-master in Griffin, Georgia bungled a gasoline theft after drilling holes in a U-Haul truck’s tank and spilling up to 45 gallons of gas everywhere. Much of the eastern United States has gone full Mad Max over a brief gas shortage, and yet, the Griffin police department has vanquished anarchy with the rule of law.
The Griffin police confirmed in a statement shared with Gizmodo that they have arrested Jesse Smith, 25, and charged him with criminal damage to property and theft by taking.
Aside from the spill, the gas crime went sideways due to a few slip-ups, namely because the gas thief doesn’t follow the rules, like the A-Number-One rule of crime: disable the security cameras. Local police thanked the suspect in a Facebook post for the evidence.
“So while you’re creating a hazardous material spill, for 5 gallons of gasoline and cause firefighters to have to work in the rain, we appreciate you parking your truck behind the KFC where we can obtain a photo of your get away vehicle,” the cops wrote. “Also, the shots of you walking around the U-Haul trucks are helpful.”
The car pictured was identified as a red of his 1980-1986 Ford F series truck.
In the post-arrest statement, police thanked a number of citizens for calling their tip line about the photos. “The assistance and cooperation of supporters and citizens broke the case and without their assistance this case may well have gone unsolved,” they wrote.
Griffin Fire Chief John C. Hamilton told Gizmodo that a team of city workers scrambled to get the emergency under control in roughly two hours. The action involved stopping and containing the spill with help from oil dry and sand from the Public Works department. They removed the mix of fuel and rainwater with the storm water’s vac truck, after which a clean-up crew contained the contaminated sand and dry oil, then ensuring that the fuel hadn’t leaked into stormwater ditches. This was not an elegant gas crime, per se.
It’s likely that Smith will face additional charges for the contingent environmental damage and perhaps all-around general pain in the ass to local authorities. “Investigators are working to determine the appropriate charges related to the hazardous materials spill of the fuel and will add those charges as appropriate,” the City of Griffin Police Department wrote in a release.
The gas shortage caused the Department of Transportation to declare a state of emergency in 17 states and D.C. Hacker group DarkSide has claimed responsibility for debilitating the Colonial Pipeline’s systems and have demanded a nearly $5 million cryptocurrency ransom. (The Drive has reported that no evidence shows that the supply system itself was impaired, but that the company may have decided to shut down the delivery of fuel due to vulnerabilities in their billing system. In other words, they could’ve been pumping but were worried about getting paid.) The Colonial Pipeline has turned some of the tap back on, but according to Reuters, some analysts believe it could take weeks to return to normal operations. The Washington Post reported last night that at least 12,000 gas stations have run dry.
End-times hysteria has swept hoards who’ve lined up around gas stations to load up their trunks with containers. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has urged the public not to fill plastic bags with gas. Two people now face assault charges for a spitting match that turned violent. The Washington Post reported gas hoarding has reached Florida, which had gas and isn’t served by Colonial.
Griffin police have asked people to maintain peace.
“While we understand that there is a shortage on gas, we also want to remind everyone to exercise safety, patience, and common sense,” they wrote in a Facebook post. “The shortage is temporary and we anticipate the gas stations returning to full operations soon. In the meantime, remain calm and don’t do anything to endanger yourself and others.”
Conservatives, including DT Jr., have seized on the opportunity to demonize Joe Biden as a present-day Jimmy Carter. When the topic started trending, Twitter added a notice that Jimmy Carter was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize and that his “humanitarian record is largely respected.”
Joe Biden did not personally hack the Colonial Pipeline’s system to our knowledge, but Mike Lindell might have some theories cooking.