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Old May 14, 2008, 02:18 AM   #1
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Gang Attacks at California Fuel Stations

About 6 months ago, I started noticing a trend of innocent beggars at the local fueling stations. They would come up to you on an individual basis and ask for some coins. When I politely declined, they would then go away without question or bother.

As time has progressed, I have noticed that the activity by such fuel station bandits has become more and more aggressive. One time a man approached me with what appeared to be plans and paperwork asking for my help. I quickly scurried to my car and locked the door not even fueling my vehicle because the situation was so weird. The man quickly came to my door yelling at me that "you dont know my situation".

In another instance, a man came at me yelling that he was in a car accident on the freeway and again I quickly went to my car. He came after, pulled the handle and it was a good thing I was quick on the lock.

Yet in another instance I was run after by two youths and again I did not exit my vehicle fearing what might happen next.

In my area, gas prices have risen so fast and so quickly that most criminals, bandits and transients believe that the most cash can be had by innocent motorists at the local gas pump. Therefore, they hang around the pumps trolling and preying on any motorist that pulls up.

Of course, the local police seem more interested in giving me a ticket for speeding then protecting me at the pumps. I have complained to the local police department to no avail. It seems the same hooligans hang out at the local pumps night after night and I find increasingly that I have to go there early in the morning to avoid confrontations.

So what is an innocent tax paying citizen like myself to do with police that dont really care about the hooligans who troll the streets and having to fight my way to get a few gallons of gas for my car hoping that I wont be the next one on the nightly news?

While some feel it is wrongful to carry a weapon about their person and in some localities it is illegal without a permit, this fuel station hooliganism is an excellent demonstration why righteous citizens carry weapons especially when the local police refuses to perform their job functions of protecting. I also feel much better knowing that I have several loaded firearms in my household as some of these fuel stations are but blocks away from my residence.
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Old May 14, 2008, 02:23 AM   #2
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What to do? Vote for sheriffs that approve carry permits and oust those who don't...or if between elections for them make non issuing sheriffs public enemy #1. The antis in law enforcement need to be treated like child molesters instead of people like you and me who want to defend ourselves. If you've got a good one in your area apply for your CCW permit. Considering that less only 1/10th of 1% of Californians carry it's no wonder scum can troll gas stations or anywhere else without any fear. That's 9 times more prison inmates and parolees in CA than citizens who can defend themselves. That's your problem.
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Old May 14, 2008, 03:51 AM   #3
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Elect another Governor, preferably one born in the U.S.A.
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Old May 14, 2008, 05:20 AM   #4
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You might as well suggest they elect a gov who a less muscle bound next time as such electing one born in this country. Location of birth seems to have nothing to do with California's less than gun friendly gun status. CA had crappy laws long before the current gov. took office.
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Old May 14, 2008, 06:36 AM   #5
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We need to rethink that statement. I believe that should read less than 1% legally carry. The bad guys are the ones packing. The regular joe smoe citizen needs to get with the times and arm himself, rough times are coming buy more bullets. As far as the hooligans at the gas pump, I have them come up to me and ask me for change on a regular basis and have even had a few try to car jack me. Being that I'm 10 months from my CCW I typically carry my kershaw folding knife, and it typically would get the job done. The best thing to do wen they approach you is to cut them off and ask them for a dollar.
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Old May 14, 2008, 06:42 AM   #6
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You can't be flashing a gun because some pan handler is asking for money. As they approach tell them to stay away or you will hit the car alarm button and freak everyone out. Let the gas station owner that he needs to coordinate with the police to keep them away. If he doesn't, gas up smoewhere safer. Carry pepper spray and be ready to use it. You can hold the can while gassing up. And last of all, use a gun if they try to carjack you.
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Old May 14, 2008, 07:50 AM   #7
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+1 on the pepper spray.

Or do you need a permit to have that in California?
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Old May 14, 2008, 10:14 AM   #8
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In my county they solved much of that by passing a new county ordinance - no panhandling within 15 yds of any public road. 1st offense results in a written warning, 2nd offense results in jail time. It completely stopped most of the panhandling problem with about a month after it went into effect.
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Old May 14, 2008, 10:30 AM   #9
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Well, your first problem is that you live in California (no offense intended). Second, I used to be an OTR truck driver and we used to run into that same situation at various truck stops around the nation, usually around L.A., Memphis, Baltimore, Jersy, etc. and the best thing to do is not lose your nerve or show fear. The second you show fear you are telling the perp that you are a target. Stand your ground, SHOW THEM that you aren't afraid of them and just ignore them ... they'll go away. It is very unlikely that these bums will attack you as long as you show absolutely no fear. They realize when you aren't afraid of them that they are likely wasting their time with you. They DEPEND on intimidation to achieve their goal which is, to get you to give them money to leave you alone. But just to be on the safe side, as someone else mentioned here, carry a taser or a can of pepper spray with you and if one of them does begin to threaten, use it on him!
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Old May 14, 2008, 11:01 AM   #10
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Well said. If you look like food, you are, and you play into their little mind game. You can't live in fear.
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Old May 14, 2008, 11:36 AM   #11
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+1 don't live in California

Here in Louisiana, you could just wear your favorite sidearm on your hip and nobody would mess with you.
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Old May 14, 2008, 11:50 AM   #12
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As a born and raised Californian now living in Texas, I sympathize with your problem. I'm also a former OTR driver and can confirm this is not only a California issue. I saw the same tactics in Atlanta, the Carolinas and lots of other places.
With all that said, +1 for the pepper spray. Always defend yourself in the most aggressive manner that is LEGALLY available to you within the current situation. +1 for paying attention to local sheriff's elections and voting for a candidate that is pro CHL. I'm always for notifying the local fuel station owner, the local police and the local councilperson and mayor of the problem.

I remember being able to walk through my neighborhood with a shotgun, a rifle and a sidearm and having one of the 5 LEO's in the area ask me one question, "Are they unloaded?". The answer was always "Yes, but you may check if you like." They never checked. I'd never try to do that in my old neighborhood now.
Thank goodness I had the smarts to move to Texas.
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Old May 14, 2008, 01:33 PM   #13
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The pepper spray is a good idea, as it comes in handy for all kinds of non-lethal confrontations. I worked at a gas/convenience store, and it was my first bline of defense.

I am a scrap recycler on a very small scale. The inside of my car generally has tools and pieces of scrap that can be used as bludgeons while not being classified as weapons. Of course, if you drive an immaculate car, this will not work.
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Old May 14, 2008, 01:35 PM   #14
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that is a big trend around my area as well. It hasnt gotten to that level yet, but i fear it will. they will come up to you asking for a couple dollars b/c they ran out of gas or some crap. Family friend of ours had a purse stolen from her shopping cart (the gas stations these have been happening at are next to a grocery) as she loaded her car. My parents have been asked for money repeatedly but no harm has happened yet. My dad always has a loaded 1911 with him, but my mom doesnt carry. I have been bugged a couple times, and i politely told them to F*** off. the police around here don't seem to care either.
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Old May 14, 2008, 02:15 PM   #15
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If approached by one of these "I'm broke" guys, you could always reach for your cell phone and tell them "Let me call the police for you. I'm sure they will be glad to help". That would probably make them scatter quickly.
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Old May 14, 2008, 02:24 PM   #16
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If approached by one of these "I'm broke" guys, you could always reach for your cell phone and tell them "Let me call the police for you. I'm sure they will be glad to help". That would probably make them scatter quickly.
Unfortunately, I doubt that will work. IMHO, 1) the guy probably wouldn't care 2) The cops probably won't even show-up 3)He will then know that you fear him and will become more aggressive.

Best thing is to stand-up to them and just ignore them. They don't want to fight ... they just want an easy hand-out.

I had one acost me here in El Paso out in front of best-buy one night. He was extremely aggressive and was borderline violent. He approached me after intimidating a woman in a car into giving him money and I told him to "F***-off". He became more aggressive and continued to hound me. I said, "I am only going to tell you one more time ... "F***-off"! He continued to hound me saying that he wanted to talk to me and I became enraged and said, "FINE! You want to talk to me?" I charged him and said, "Then come here you [expletive]!" LMAO, he couldn't get away from me fast enough after that!
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Old May 14, 2008, 03:14 PM   #17
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So what is an innocent tax paying citizen like myself to do with police that dont really care about the hooligans who troll the streets
Step number one: Lose the victim mentality and stop blaming the police in general. Police officers enforce existing laws. You failed to cite a single instance of any offense other than you were frightened by someone's approach. If it is not against the law for a man to approach you and ask for money, what do you expect them to do? Do you expect them to pull security at your choice of gas station so you won't be harassed? If it is against the law and officers are not doing anything, have you contacted the Internal Affairs or Chief of Police personally about the problem or is this something you just complain about to the front desk officer?

Step number two: Contact your city council, your city manager or mayor and make a complaint about aggressive panhandlers. If you don't have an ordinance, request that one be enacted that will make panhandling a violation. That is what we've done in our city and the bums have moved on for the most part.

Personal security is an individual responsibility. If you can't go lawfully armed, then move somewhere you can.

Whining about the police will not solve your problem.
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Old May 14, 2008, 03:36 PM   #18
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Step number one: Lose the victim mentality and stop blaming the police in general. Police officers enforce existing laws.
Amen! Not only that, but let's be realistic about this: Cops cannot be everywhere at once. If we had enough cops that they could respond to any call within a matter of a couple of minutes (which would still be too late in some instances) our taxes would be astronomical! This is why The 2nd Amendment and self-defense laws are so very important to us and why we need to protect them!!! We cannot rely solely on others to protect us!
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Old May 14, 2008, 03:54 PM   #19
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Tell the owner of the gas station that if he does not do something about these people you will stop spending money there. Get everyone you know to do this as well. They will do something if their bottom line is threatened. Even if it's just getting the cops to drive thru every once in a while, it's better than nothing.
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Old May 14, 2008, 03:59 PM   #20
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There are things that the local police can do.

Drive up to these persons who are hanging around the station and ask them kindly what they are doing there. Then ask the station attendant if that person is allowed to be on the property. If the attendant says no, then the officer can kindly ask that person to leave. They are in fact trespassing on private property (its not owned by the city) so trespassing might apply.

The police can detain persons for short periods of time for suspicious activity to check identity. I would say that hanging around a gas station at night without a vehicle or doing business with the station and approaching random persons driving in counts as suspicious.

There is more they can do then "nothing".
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Old May 14, 2008, 04:07 PM   #21
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What I do in such situations is to think, "I don't have to like this. I don't have to like this." That mindset shows, and the scum bags try to locate another weaker person.

You can also think, "I'm not going to get hurt and I'm going to make sure I'm not going to get hurt." That mindset sets you up to act appropriately earlier on.

Don't fear your right to defend yourself. It's not your fault that they misbehave. You have to protect your interests.
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Old May 14, 2008, 04:34 PM   #22
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Damn! What part of California do you live in? I work in one of the crappiest areas of L.A. I see junkies and winos begging for money, but they are just an annoyance. If you keep going to the same place time and time again and keep telling them no, they'll eventually leave you alone.

Why are you so scared? As others have told you, if you look like a victim, you'll be a victim. I'm not the biggest guy, but I'm big enough. I look them in the eye and tell them NO! before they even finish the sentence. If I see them accosting older folks or women, I tell them to get lost and I take the heat for these poor people. If I do it often enough, they go elsewhere or clear out when I'm around.

My dad uses a routine that I love. They ask Do you have any any spare change? He reaches into his pocket and jingles the coins, and says yep. the he just smiles at them.

Seriously, what station do you go to. I need a new crew of bums to piss off.
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Old May 14, 2008, 04:45 PM   #23
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+1 on pepper spray. I'm 6'4", 275 and trained in hand-to-hand and I carry it. also have a 15" Crescent wrench (real skull-buster there)hanging by cord from the radio knob in my pick-up.
I carry a .32acp Beretta or 9mm Mak on my M/C.
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Old May 14, 2008, 04:51 PM   #24
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Time to involve a large newspaper in a nearby town! Raise some stick!

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Old May 14, 2008, 05:58 PM   #25
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I read somewhere that if you carry a bic lighter in your pocket and are filling your tank with gasoline and somebody attempts to strong arm you,all that you need to do is squirt about 10 cents worth of gas on the perp and offer to light it for them,they will go away very fast.I cannot say it will work but that is what I read.YMMV.tom.

I must add that I in no way suggest that you use this tactic.It is for refference only.tom.
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Last edited by deputy tom; May 15, 2008 at 06:41 AM. Reason: added disclaimer
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