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Petrol station names and shames 'pump and run' thieves

TT/The Local · 30 Oct 2009, 10:56

Published: 30 Oct 2009 10:56 GMT+01:00

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The man is now subject to a police investigation.

"We have visited the station and the photographs have been taken down," detective chief inspector Stefan Karlsson at Växjö police told the TT news agency.

The police have also framed a report about the incident but have not yet made a decision over whether the disgruntled petrol station owner is suspected of any criminal offence.

"I'll have to take the hit if it comes. We can not be robbed of petrol worth up to 30,000 kronor ($4,300) without doing something about it," Håkan Emvall told Sveriges Radio Kronoberg.

Emvall finally had enough of police inaction when the same men filled up their cars and drove off without paying for the third time in a week. Despite repeated reports to the police the men were allowed to continue and Emvall decided to take the law into his own hands.

The photographs that were published at the entrance to the station depicted the two men after having just filled up a Saab, with the registration number written below. He furthermore labelled the two men as "hit-and-run petrol thieves".

The question has now arisen over whether it is legal to claim and identify someone as a criminal.

Retail trade organization, Svensk Handel, does not think so but Emvall has in his defence cited a decision by the Skåne police to publish surveillance camera pictures of suspected criminals on its homepage.

Story continues below…

The Skåne police force is currently seeking help and tips from the public to solve a series of frauds and robberies.

Växjö police will in the near future offer its view of the use of the petrol station's surveillance cameras in this manner.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:25 October 30, 2009 by peropaco
It seems like a national past time to go after the innocent rather than the real criminals.
12:35 October 30, 2009 by karex
Yeah, how typical of Swedish police: they don't have time to chase down the criminals, but somehow make the time to investigate the victim.
13:21 October 30, 2009 by ropegun247
Yeah, it's a lot less work for the swedish police to chase down the victim than the criminal.

Yet, how hard it would be to find the criminal with photographs and a license plate photo? And knock on their home doors to ask may I see the receipt for the gasoline purchase? If they can't produce the receipt, they were shop lifting and should be deal with in those terms...

Then again... it's too much work to do that for the swedish police... it's much easier to victimize the victim...
14:26 October 30, 2009 by Mb 65
Why doesn't the station owner make people pay before they put in the petrol. When you drive into a bad area in America you always have to pay up front.

Law and order in the EU is for the criminal not the victim.
14:33 October 30, 2009 by Harding00
Ah, Swedish police, what a joke. Need I say more?
15:20 October 30, 2009 by BravoTango
The thieves are probably off duty police officers.
15:31 October 30, 2009 by Nemesis
In Sweden the police have a central registry for car registrations which all police officers have access to, including in there cars and over the radio.

Why have the Vaxjö police not arrested the thieves immediately?

It looks like the police are actually deliberately trying to defend a criminals right to commit a crime.
15:38 October 30, 2009 by mkvgtired
How ridiculous. If the police refuse to enforce the law what rights does a Swedish citizen have to defend his or her property?
17:15 October 30, 2009 by spy
Did this story push the 'Cat caught up a tree in Malmo' story off today's news?
17:52 October 30, 2009 by Atlas
I say: Publish also the photos of the police officers to whom you reported the incidents and didn't do anything, as well as of those police officers who apparently have time to investigate you for "shaming" those thieves...
17:57 October 30, 2009 by spy

Now that would be a good idea and it would be quite a bit more newsworthy than this rubbish story.
18:12 October 30, 2009 by Soft Boiled
Emvall finally had enough of police inaction

Indeed haven´t we all?
18:40 October 30, 2009 by Keith #5083
As the son of a former policeman in England I truly get amazed at why it's always the fault of the police! On the face of it this case seems a little absurd, but then rushing to judgements without all the facts is also absurd.

For example, try and get 'willing witnesses' to a crime and see how frustrating it can be to build a case against an alleged criminal. I have some horror stories about that,including a young officer who was attacked by a youth with a razor. The officer never worked again and a busful of people watched. Would anyone come to court to witness....dream on.

The mistake Emvall appears to have made is to label the 'offenders' as thieves instead of alleged thieves. I do,however, sympathise fully with his dilemna and would hope the police will also do the same.
18:47 October 30, 2009 by DamnImmigrant
Yah, Go after the VICTIM! Good job!

The police cannot FIND and ARREST these people??

But they have NO PROBLEM going after the VICTIM?

Kidnapped children could NOT be found by the Swedish police during a 6 month investigation - then daddy comes over and finds them in 1 week!!! What the F!

I really wish I understood the law enforcement procedures in this country.
19:31 October 30, 2009 by Atlas
Keith, while i do agree that building a case and getting witnesses against someone for offenses can take time, in this case it seems obvious that the gas station owner had full proof of the thieves identity, their theft and their car plate number as well, but nobody seemed to bother.

Rushing to judgment, maybe you are right, but hey we are hearing a lot of bad police work in Sweden lately, and will taint their image in the eyes of law abiding citizens.

As DamnImmigrant pointed out: remember that case of kidnapped children and awful police work for starters...
23:42 October 30, 2009 by DeepFriedTwinky
I love all these comments except for Keith. I do agree Police to have hard decisions, hard job to perform various duties, but the evidence the owner had and the situation just show how the police is putting more effort at the victim. Since this car is in the system. . .visit the owner...see if the car is stolen....have the car owner show up in a line-up and have victim see if the car owner committed the crime.

Good for the gas station owner! Fight back! You submitted a report and no police action.

Fight back!
03:03 October 31, 2009 by Colonial Swede
There is little justice in our lands. Up is down. Down is up.
07:26 October 31, 2009 by Weekend_warrior
The end result will be all petrol stations eventually making you pay before you fill. Like you do in America!!! Idiots...I think that blew me away the first time I pulled into a petrol station in Sweden.

My girlfriend at the time asked me how do you know how much to pay before you fill. I said you insert you credit card and let the tank run until full or stop it at the price level. And with cash, you just give the person however much money you have, 200sek, 300sek whatever.

It does seem a convenience the way it is done in Sweden, but its not much more difficult to do it the...I guess American way? Others probably do it like us too. Alas, someone abuses the privilege as is human nature, and it will get taken away.
10:45 October 31, 2009 by Jakub72
"There is little justice in our lands. Up is down. Down is up."

You forgot left is right and right is left and welcome to the 'MATRIX"
11:02 October 31, 2009 by insect
It could be a bit questionable on what the police consider priority.

A month ago, some neighbours daughter called the police because of a physical fight with her dad. Two hours later no police and she finally had to get the hell out of there. But a month earlier a neighbour found a hurt porcupine and called the police who came within 30 minutes. Talk about confused priorities!
13:04 October 31, 2009 by Harding00
Honestly what I think it is, is that there simply aren't enough police officers in Sweden. There are roughly the same amount of people in New York City as in Sweden (8.3 million ppl in NYC and 9 million ppl in all of Sweden) but NYC has over 37,000 police officers while Sweden has only 19,000. Do I think that Swedish police officers don't do enough, yes, I do. I never see the police driving around, shooting radar, etc, or doing any sort of crime prevention. Maybe it's because I live in a municipality of only 42,000 people in northern Sweden, but I am not sure. The few times I have visited Stockholm, I rarely saw any police officers driving around, let alone walking around. So if the police force is small then of course they don't want to bother doing any real work that might involve reports etc.
16:34 October 31, 2009 by wxman
In addition to agreeing with the general incompetance of the police mentioned by others, I must add that I think the station owner's action is just so much liberal PC baloney and totally ineffective. Hell, if these run-offs cared one wit about what others think of them, they wouldn't steal petrol in the first place! Face it, they don't give a damn.
06:07 November 1, 2009 by soultraveler3
Two things...

1) Sweden needs to change their laws and allow it, or even make it mandatory, that all criminals are named and their pictures shown so citizens can protect themselves.

2) Why not change the gas station to one where you have to pay first, by either using a card outside or cash inside before you can pump gas?
04:31 November 2, 2009 by techguyjames
After gas in the USA hit $3, it pretty much became pre-pay cash or car-at-pump; in some places, the police kept an officer at each gas, or petrol, station to catch those that, as we say, pump-and-run.
17:25 November 2, 2009 by Cederq
I am an American of Swedish descent and I find the lack of police integrity shameful, sadly that type of behavior knows no boundary. I would say to petition or recall the local police official if it is possible, no excuse for the citizens of Vaxjo to have this type of non-law enforcement. I have been reading the "Local" for awhile and wanted to visit my "Homeland", not so sure now with all of the idiotic news I read from the Local.
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