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The owner of a Dunedin petrol station used his inside knowledge to covertly steal thousands of litres of fuel from petrol retailers.
Mohammed Rizwan Din Khan Hussain (28), of Auckland, bought Sawyers Bay Motors in 2011, but paid for only one shipment of 2000 litres of fuel.
Instead, he used his experience of working three years for a company that serviced North Island fuel pumps to supply thousands of stolen litres of fuel for his petrol station.
Hussain appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday on two theft charges and will be sentenced later this month.
Police said he used his technological knowledge to bypass paying for fuel at certain fuel pumps.
His offending was spotted by the owner of Pak'n Save, South Dunedin, on October 14, 2013.
The court was told the owner was at the pump control shed and saw that the pump that Hussain was parked by was offline.
He noticed a pump nozzle going through the window of Hussain's Mazda van, which had two purpose-built tanks in the rear capable of holding 750 litres of fuel.
When asked what he was doing, Hussain said he was getting fuel for his boat and then left as the owner went to check the status of the pump.
The owner later checked for other times the pumps had been put offline and discovered it had happened 35 times since December 2011.
The offending resulted in 18,307 litres of fuel - valued at $38,142 - stolen from Pak'n Save, with police also obtaining video surveillance of the last five thefts.
Hussain also owned a flat deck truck capable of carrying up to four 1000-litre storage tanks on the back.
On May 22, 2012 he drove that truck to the Chevron-owned Caltex truck stop in Fryatt St, Dunedin, pumping 1212 litres of petrol into the storage tanks.
A passing police patrol stopped and spoke to him, with Hussain telling the officer he was getting fuel for the farm in Mosgiel where he worked.
Chevron found 10 occasions where it lost fuel, with the total value being $39,000.
Police analysed his bank and travel records, showing Hussain travelled from Auckland to Dunedin to steal fuel for his petrol station.
The petrol station, which used to be managed by his brother-in-law, is for lease.