Beware of men who pass gas.
Police made three arrests at a Bayview district gas station Tuesday in connection with what they said is a common scam at the pump.
Scammers often offer gas station customers a discount if they pay them in cash directly, then swipe their stolen credit cards for the transaction.
On Tuesday, several people were reportedly doing just that at the Chevron gas station at Third Street and Evans Avenue. Scammers apparently targeted that particular location because it serves commercial vehicles such as trucks and shuttle buses that are expensive to fill.
Officers responded to the station at 1:53 p.m. and spotted the suspects, who reportedly made a few errors of judgment while in the presence of police.
One of the men, identified as 22-year-old Jaquez Burns of San Francisco, tried to play it cool by pretending to pump gas into his car, police said. However, officers said they could tell Burns wasn’t really pumping gas because he was using the diesel hose for a nondiesel vehicle.
As the officers approached, a second suspect, identified as 23-year-old Tabari Austin of San Francisco, allegedly dumped items into a garbage can and fled.
The ditched items were credit cards that belonged to the victim of an auto burglary in the Mission district earlier that day, police said.
Both Austin and Tabari tried to run from police but were apprehended, Officer Albie Esparza said.
The station attendant, who identified herself Thursday only as May, said she believes the crooks used the stolen cards on six transactions that day.
“Every time they were over a hundred dollars,” she said. The thieves, she said, were operating at the pump that was farthest from the station’s food mart. Managers gave police access to the station’s video surveillance footage, May added.
Austin and Burns were booked into County Jail on charges that include conspiracy, possession of stolen property and grand theft, Esparza said.
A third suspect who was arrested at the scene, 24-year-old Marlesha Wilson of San Francisco, was reportedly booked on petty theft charges.