Homeless couple arrested in connection to gas drive-offs

August 19, 2014

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

Graciano

Graciano

HART — A homeless couple was arrested Saturday in connection with

a recent spree of gas drive-offs in the area.

Jose Graciano, 36, and Lindsey Clark, 26, of Muskegon were arrested by Oceana County Sheriff’s Office deputies after allegedly attempting to steal gas from Wilson’s Market, located at the corner of Polk Road and 56th Avenue in Mears.

Clark

Clark

Thanks to the swift actions of a vendor selling honey in the market’s

parking lot, the couple was apprehended. “The store knew to be on the look out for them,” said OCSO Lt. Craig Mast. The vendor noticed the suspect couple when they became irate with another customer who took their preferred spot at the gas pumps, Mast explained. The vendor went inside the store and alerted employees, who then shut off the gas pump that the couple was using. When the pump shut off, the couple hopped in their vehicle, fled the scene and were quickly apprehended by authorities as they attempted to get onto the US-31 expressway.

Police recently sought the public’s help in catching the alleged gas stealers by sharing security camera photos of the car involved with area media. The drive-offs have been occurring since last April, Mast said.

The suspect vehicle allegedly used in the gas drive-offs.

The suspect vehicle allegedly used in the gas drive-offs.

The couple was driving a four-door silver-gray Ford Taurus. They would fill up the tank with approximately $50-$60 worth of gas and drive away without paying.

Incidents have also occurred at the E-Z Mart Gas Station at 4279 W. Polk Road, across the street from McDonald’s.

The car had a piece of bluish tape covering the license plate, concealing the numbers from security cameras. The female suspect would pump the gas while the male suspect would pop open the trunk to block the camera’s view of the license plate, Mast said.

The couple, whose address is listed as Jefferson Street in Muskegon, “were living out of their car,” Mast said. They are both lodged in the Oceana County Jail on one misdemeanor count each of larceny under $200, and they have been arraigned in 78th District Court. Their bond was set at $3,500/10 percent. The charge is punishable by up to 93 days in jail.

The Hart Police Department assisted at the scene.

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