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 March 10, 2024

Nebraska Woman Charged After Stealing 7,400 Gallons Of Gas

In an extraordinary display of cunning, 45-year-old Dawn Thompson was arrested for exploiting a gas pump glitch, managing to siphon off over 7,400 gallons of gas without paying a cent.

This nefarious act of gasoline theft, spanning from November 2022 to June 2023 at a Pump & Pantry in Lincoln, Nebraska, was achieved through the repeated use of a rewards card, cleverly taking advantage of a software flaw, as the Daily Mail reports.

The story unfolds with a software update in November 2022 at the Pump & Pantry, unwittingly introducing a glitch that would soon be exploited in an unprecedented manner.

This glitch allowed a rewards card, upon being swiped twice, to switch the pump to a demo mode, essentially allowing fuel to be pumped without charge. Thompson, seizing this opportunity, would go on to use this exploit a staggering 510 times over the subsequent months.

The total quantity of gasoline pilfered amounted to 7,413.59 gallons, valued at approximately $27,860.27. This prolonged scheme went unnoticed until June 2023 when staff at the filling station realized the anomaly and reported the possible fuel scam. Surveillance footage from the location would later pinpoint Thompson as the individual refunding her vehicle multiple times, revealing the depths of the fraud.

The Investigation Unravels a Well-Oiled Scheme

Following the staff's report, Lincoln Police were notified in October 2023 by a loss prevention manager from Bosselman Enterprise, leading to a thorough investigation. This probe unearthed not just the scale of Thompson's actions but also involved another woman who alleged she paid Thompson for discounted gas, indicating a broader network of individuals benefiting from the scam.

This unidentified woman's testimony to the police shed light on the inner workings of the scam, claiming she paid Thompson $500 for $700 worth of gas. It was revealed that Thompson had sold the rewards card in June 2023, before the glitch was fixed on June 1, demonstrating a clear intention to profit from her illicit activities.

Further inquiries led to Thompson herself, who disclosed that the rewards card had been given to her instead of payment by a man to whom she had sold a car. The man, she claimed, had passed away before January of the following year, adding another layer of complexity to the investigation. Nevertheless, last week Thompson was apprehended at her home and is now facing charges of felony theft by unlawfully taking more than $5,000.

The Legal Repercussions Begin

The ramifications of Thompson's actions culminate with her facing serious legal consequences, her bond set at $7,500. With the next court hearing scheduled for April 11, the community waits with bated breath to see the outcome of what might be one of the most ingenious fuel scams ever conceived.

The sequence of events leading to Thompson's arrest paints a picture of a carefully executed scheme, taking advantage of a technological fault to commit a significant theft of resources. From the glitch's introduction in November 2022, through the months of unchecked theft, to the eventual discovery and remediation in June 2023, the timeline delineates a clear narrative of opportunistic crime.

Lincoln Police's involvement from October 2023, spurred by the vigilance of a loss prevention manager, demonstrates the critical role that corporate and civic responsibility plays in uncovering such devious plots. The additional layer of Thompson attempting to spread the spoils by selling discounted gas further highlights the human tendency to capitalize on unforeseen opportunities, regardless of their legality.

Lessons to Learn

1. Vigilance is key: Staff at Pump & Pantry ultimately noticed the discrepancy, leading to the unraveling of this scheme. It's a stark reminder of the importance of paying attention to irregularities in daily operations.

2. Technological updates require thorough testing: The glitch that allowed Thompson to exploit the gas pumps was a result of a software update. This incident underscores the need for rigorous testing of systems post-update to prevent potential vulnerabilities.

3. Reporting suspicions matters: The eventual arrest and charging of Thompson were only possible due to individuals coming forward with their observations and suspicions. This reiterates that, while crime can happen to anyone, taking proactive steps by reporting can lead to resolution and prevention.

Why This Story Matters

The staggering extent of Thompson's scam not only highlights the vulnerabilities inherent in our technological systems but also serves as a cautionary tale about the lengths to which individuals might go to exploit them.

This story matters as it underscores the importance of ethical vigilance in a digital age, reminding businesses and individuals alike of the need to remain constantly aware and responsive to potential abuses of technology to safeguard community resources.

In conclusion, Dawn Thompson's arrest following her exploitation of a gas pump glitch sheds light on the complex interplay between technology, individual ingenuity, and the law. From the initial exploitation to the extensive investigation leading to her capture, this incident encapsulates a myriad of lessons about ethics, vigilance, and the potential for technology to both aid and abet criminal activity.

As the community and legal system grapple with the implications of this case, it stands as a stark reminder of the ever-evolving challenges posed by technological advancement and the ongoing battle against crime.

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Written By: Rampart Stonebridge

I'm Rampart Stonebridge, a curious and passionate writer who can't get enough of true crime. As a criminal investigative journalist, I put on my detective hat, delving deep into each case to reveal the hidden truths. My mission? To share engaging stories and shed light on the complexities of our mysterious world, all while satisfying your curiosity about the intriguing realm of true crime.
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