Nine people have been charged in the credit card theft of nearly $16,000 from about 175 travelers who bought Sunoco gasoline this summer at the Maryland House and Chesapeake House rest stops along Interstate 95 north of Baltimore, Maryland State Police said.
A majority of the thefts occurred at the service center at Chesapeake House, a rest area on I-95 near North East, said Cpl. Robert Perrot, a state police investigator.
A complaint from an out-of-state motorist helped state police stop the thefts. More complaints are trickling in, with the majority coming from East Coast residents who had stopped to buy gas at the well-known rest areas.
Three men, two from Harford County and one from Cecil County, and six juveniles have been charged, state police said.
"In a few cases, the employees filled out bogus charges to purchase tires or water pumps for their own vehicles," Corporal Perrot said. "Mostly, they just wrote a second charge slip, put it in the cash register and took the corresponding amount of cash from the register," he said.
Charging documents identify the adult employees as Brian Heath Blackney, 22, of Port Deposit; David Anthony Fant, 26, of Aberdeen; and Keith Larry Bishop, 39, of Havre de Grace. All are charged with multiple counts of theft.
The adults received criminal summonses to appear in Harford Circuit Court on Nov. 3, a state police spokesman said.
The six teen-agers, all boys 15 to 17 years old, were not identified because they are under the age of 18. They have been referred to juvenile authorities, Corporal Perrot said.