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FORT WORTH, Texas -- The third time was an alarm for a Cadillac driver apparently loading up on free gas while posing as a stranded motorist. A police officer became suspicious the third time he saw the same man stopped on the side of a road next to his Cadillac with the hood up, said Charles Gonzalez, the area's neighborhood police officer.
The officer stopped and asked the man what the problem was. After the man said the car's starter didn't work, the officer asked him to try to start it.
"And it starts right up," Gonzalez said in a story Saturday in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
About that time, another driver pulled up with a full 1-gallon gas can, Gonzalez said. The driver told the officer that the Cadillac owner had claimed to have run out of gas and was broke. So the driver decided to be a good Samaritan.
The officer then ran the Cadillac owner's driver's license and learned that he had outstanding warrants, Gonzalez said. The man was arrested.
When officers opened the Cadillac's trunk, they found four full 1-gallon gas cans.
"He'd been convincing people he was out of gas and to give him money or buy him some," Gonzalez said. "The officer said he noticed the guy always parked near a gas station, so it would be convenient for people to run and get some for him.
"People were not only buying him gas, they were buying him the gas cans."
It probably wasn't a crime, Gonzalez said. The gas gauge didn't work so police don't know how much gas the car contained. And anyway, asking people to buy you gas isn't against the law.
"You never want to tell people not to help others," he said. "But there are people who will take advantage of it."