Reece Lewis has always been a bit of a crimefighter. He’s owned and
operated the Caltex petrol station in Lower Hutt since 2005, and as
long as he can remember drive-off fuel thefts and theft have always
been a source of frustration.
Even before joining the Auror community about a year ago, he was
reporting drive-off fuel thefts to the local Police. In a way, he was
lucky: despite having 10-15 drive-offs per month and about five
shop thefts, he didn’t have the same high volume of crime as some
of his counterparts.
But when he went to report crime and provide evidence to Police,
his camera system was letting him down. The images were often
too grainy and pixelated to be useful, and police couldn’t prosecute
offenders if they couldn’t get a positive ID on the person doing the
What’s more: reporting crime was a time-intensive process that kept
his staff occupied on the phone rather than running the store and
So when crime levels started to rise, Reece knew he had to take
action, and on a recommendation from a friend he joined Auror.
"Since the price of petrol has increased the whole
industry has seen an increase of drive-offs. Petrol theft
unfortunately will never stop; criminals will always find
a way to steal. However we are finding ways to make it
harder with Auror."
Reece started by adding Auror to his arsenal of tools, using the
platform to report and keep track of vehicles that did drive-offs from
this site. But ultimately he wanted to prevent them too. That meant
adding Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology,
which combined with Auror would detect and block offender
vehicles before they even had the chance to steal.
First he had to set up the right infrastructure for ANPR, including
good Internet Protocol (IP) cameras and specialised ANPR software.
Reece and Auror brought in the expertise of Focus Digital to add the right cameras to the mix, as proven through an earlier ANPR project with Z Energy. With these systems in place, the Auror platform could connect it all and create a seamless workflow to report vehicles and preventing future thefts.
Now when a vehicle that has been reported to Auror arrives on his site, ANPR cameras scan and detect the plates and trigger an onscreen Auror alert for staff to leave the fuel pump on prepay.
In addition to new cameras and technology, Reece cleverly added some old-fashioned service to his model: a forecourt attendant. He’s found the personal touch and extra attention paid to customers also aids in keeping criminals off his site.
“Since joining Auror we initially dropped the drive-offs
down to five to 10 per month, and now that we added
ANPR cameras to the mix we’re down to just a few.”
Not only has Reece succeed in reducing crime on his site, he’s also
enjoying a better relationship with his local Police driven by the
intelligence and reports he’s providing and the collaborative nature
of preventing crime through Auror.
“With the introduction of Auror and ANPR the
relationship with the Police has been very positive. It
allows for a better reporting system, and being able to
add photos to the reports has made it easier for both
parties,” says Reece. “We have seen better lines of
communication and even more petrol thieves
Now with fewer thefts and better Police engagement, Reece’s site
staff are getting a respite and enjoying getting on with the business
of running the station. “Our staff are finding it easier to do the
reporting on the Auror system and like being able to get alerted for
potentially untrustworthy customers,” he says.
“If joining Auror meant that staff didn’t have to spend
time on the phone to the police doing the report, that
alone is saving money in my view.”
Anti-Theft Best Practices for Petrol Stations: