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Woman faces felony charge for using glitch to pump free gas for months

A software glitch caused gas pumps to dispense for free if the user swiped a rewards card twice. Now a woman is charged with stealing $28,000 in gas.
A fuel pump dispensing gas
Posted at 9:55 PM, Mar 12, 2024

A woman in Nebraska faces a felony theft charge for allegedly exploiting a vulnerability in gas pump software to dispense thousands of dollars' worth of gas for free.

The 45-year-old woman was arrested on March 6 and is charged with felony theft of gas worth almost $28,000.

The Associated Press reports a software update was sent to gas pumps at a Pump & Pantry service station in Lincoln, Nebraska. The update caused unintended behavior from the machines: When a rewards card was swiped twice, the machine entered demonstration mode, in which gas could be pumped for no charge.

Prosecutors say a loss-prevention official with the company discovered one card was associated with the thefts. Surveillance footage showed the woman pumping gas in this manner from November 2022 through June 2023. The glitch was fixed, according to case documents, in June.

Prosecutors also say the woman rented the card out to at least one other user for a fee.

Altogether, prosecutors say, thieves used the card 510 times to pump some 7,400 gallons of gas.

Man caught on video stealing cash from Girl Scout cookie booth
Surveillance video still from a Walmart where a man stole from a Girl Scout cookie booth.

Man caught on video stealing cash from Girl Scout cookie booth

The Girl Scouts organization recommends selling cookies during the day in neighborhoods you are familiar with.