Police Warn About Razor Blades at Gas Stations: "Inspect Pump Handle Before Grabbing"
A scary new hazard at gas stations has popped up in cities across the country.
If you've been driving since you were a teen, you've likely gone to the gas station thousands of times in your life. But don't let your experience with this pit stop prevent you from paying attention to your surroundings. From card skimmers to purse snatchers, there are a number of hidden dangers that could strike while you're getting gas. And now, police are issuing a scary new warning about razor blades found at some stations. Read on to find out why you may want to inspect the pump handle before you fill up.
READ THIS NEXT: If This Happens in a Parking Lot, Don't Get Out of Your Car, Police Warn.
Millions of people in the U.S. get gas daily.
Gas stations in the U.S. certainly see their fair share of action. According to a survey from the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), nearly 40 million people nationwide "fill up their vehicles every day." A separate study from FinanceBuzz confirmed the prevalence, reporting that the average U.S. driver spends over 2.5 percent of their monthly income filing up their tank alone.
As the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas explains, fuel demand is "price inelastic," so it doesn't rise or fall dramatically even when prices do.
"U.S. consumers historically only slowly reduce fuel consumption as prices increase. This is primarily because most consumers must drive to work, school, grocery stores and other destinations every day," the bank wrote in a June 2022 report. "Additionally, there are no scalable alternatives that can be immediately substituted."
With that in mind, there's a good chance you have a trip to the gas station in the near future—so here's what you should look out for when you're there.
Police in one state just warned about razor blades found at gas stations.
Police in Forest City, North Carolina, warned in late January that they had discovered multiple instances of razor blades being placed in gas pump handles, Fox Carolina reported.
According to the news outlet, the Forest City Police Department said they had confirmed three separate incidents in which people found blades last month, and they were actively investigating these dangerous happenings with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
"This is a very disturbing incident and we are devoting all of the resources available to us to figure out who is responsible and hold them accountable," the police department said in an alert, per Fox Carolina.
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This is not the only place where razor blades have been found.
Police in Forest City said they were advised by the state's agriculture department that the incidents involving razor blades at gas pumps "may not have been as widespread as originally thought." But this is not the first time something like this has happened in the U.S.
The problem has been reported elsewhere in North Carolina. In 2018, the Davidson County Sheriff's Office found a razor blade taped to a gas pump at a Sheetz station in Wallburg after someone reported it. And in 2019, a man in Siler City discovered a razor blade hidden in the rubber grip of a gas pump.
"Now I'm scared to go pump my gas," Siler City resident Marcus Smith told CBS-affiliate WFMY at the time.
It's not just North Carolina either, according to a 2019 report from Michigan. Authorities in Coloma Township said they had found eight razor blades at a Speedway station. Two of the blades were affixed to the inside handle of a gas pump, and six others were found atop of the pump, Coloma Township Police Chief Wes Smigielski told CBS-affiliate WSBT.
"It's kind of shocking and unsettling to say the least that someone would actually put that there or try to do that intentionally," Smigielski said.
Authorities advise always inspecting a gas pump before you grab it.
While these incidents are thankfully few and far between—and the chance of razor blades on gas pumps in your area is remote—it can't hurt to be cautious.
"We urge the public to remain vigilant and take the extra second to inspect the pump handle before grabbing it," the Forest City Police Department advised in their alert.
Authorities don't have a clear answer as to why anyone would put razor blades in gas pumps. "Could have been kids doing it messing around thinking it was funny. Could be someone who is actually going around to gas stations and trying to hurt people," Smigielski said in 2019. "This day and age you never know."
It's a good idea to be careful, because coming into contact with a razor blade when getting gas could leave you with more than just a minor cut.
"Communicable diseases—I'm not sure what's on them. They are razor blades, they could have drugs on them. They could have anything on them," Smigielski told WSBT. "Look where you are putting your hand and look around the plastic that covers the actually pump part and make sure there is nothing there."