Beginning May 1st, local fuel merchants have agreed to implement a mandatory pre-pay policy at Cape Girardeau gas stations. Following a recent meeting of the Cape Girardeau Police Department and merchants to gauge the severity of the problem and to find a solution, they agreed that the policy was the only way to prevent losses. The police department has investigated 306 gas drive offs in the last seven months, and one officer currently spends 80-85 percent of his time investigating these incidents—a significant time and resources investigating cases that rarely results in criminal charges. Interim Chief Roger Fields says that by eliminating or reducing the problem, they can free up police resources to focus on areas that are most beneficial to the community as a whole.
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