By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Civil Police officers were inspecting anti-fraud seals on fuel pumps at a number of gas stations in Rio yesterday as part of Operação Posto Legal (Operation Legal Gas Station). Officers, accompanied by criminology experts, identified pumps with broken seals and possible evidence of tampering.

Gas pump, fraud investigation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Some fraudulent gas stations have had their pump displays tampered with, meaning motorists drive off with less than they paid for, photo by Renato Araújo/ABr.

During the operation officers found three pumps with cut wires and loose connections inside their mechanisms – possible signs of fraud.

The gas stations in question were not closed, but the pumps in question were sealed and taken away for analysis.

The operation began yesterday morning at eight stations in Tijuca, in Rio’s Zona Norte (North Zone), and appears to have been sparked after the National Petroleum Agency (ANP) closed a gas station in Gardênia Azul in Rio’s Zona Oeste (West Zone) last Monday, which they suspected of having tampered with pumps.

Just a day before, Globo’s long-running informative TV show Fantástico ran an investigative piece on gas station fraud, which the show alleges is being carried out across a number of states, sometimes by remote control.

The show claimed that at one filling station in Rio, for every 50 liters (eleven gallons) of fuel sold, six liters (1.3 gallons) were being ‘stolen’ from the motorist.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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