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Three charged in alleged drive-offs

September 20, 2012
By KATIE SCHWENDEMAN - Staff Writer ( , Morning Journal News

COLUMBIANA - A former Duke and Duchess employee, her husband and his brother were arrested by city police on Tuesday for repeatedly stealing gas from the service station.

Police Chief Tim Gladis issued a press release on the arrests later that day identifying the three charged as Donna McCain, 43, her husband Michael McCain, 40, and his brother Jeffrey McCain, 37. The three live together on West State Street in Salem.

According to reports, police learned of the thefts after a store clerk saw a woman pump 13.3 gallons of gas and left without paying at 4:18 p.m. Sept. 2. The clerk was able to get a copy of the vehicle's license plate and provided it to police, who were later able to trace it back to Mrs. McCain although one letter was off.

Gladis said on Wednesday that although the license plate number given was not exact, several store clerks recognized the woman as a former employee.

"Using the name that we got we were able to narrow it down to being the (same car and same plate). That was the break we needed," he said.

Prior to being arrested, Mrs. McCain was seen by more than one store clerk pumping gas and not paying for it again at 2:24 p.m. Sept. 7.

The clerks told Detective Wade Boley she had pumped about $29 worth of gas that day.

When confronted by police, Mrs. McCain confessed to stealing the gas, according to the reports. She said she was able to because she was familiar with the store's policy and procedures regarding prepay and non-prepay pumps. She also admitted to being in the vehicle with her husband and brother-in-law every time they stole gas as well.

Mr. McCain stole $52.94 worth of fuel from the store at 9:16 p.m. Aug. 20 and his brother stole $22.31 at 2:17 p.m. Sept. 12. They also later admitted to the theft, police said.

The thefts are not the first to happen at the store, as drive-offs are reported there on a nearly daily basis. According to the department's police log, at least 33 drive-offs totaling more than $1,300 were reported between April and August of this year. The largest single instance drive-off during those months was $153.19 on July 17.

Many more drive-offs have been reported since August as well.

Gladis said that, unfortunately, not every thief is caught because store clerks get busy and don't always have the opportunity to notice when a drive-off is taking place.

"In this case, the employees got hit a couple of times and one of them got a plate number and they recognized her," he said.

The McCains are scheduled to appear in county Municipal Court at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 25 to answer to the charges.



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