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article imageBill to fight 'gas and dash' re-introduced in Ontario legislature

By Arthur Weinreb     Feb 27, 2013 in World
Toronto - The proposed legislation will provide more safety measures to protect employees of self-service gas stations when customers fill up with gas and then drive off without paying.
As Digital Journal reported, last September Liberal MPP Mike Colle introduced a bill in order to help protect self service station employees when customers do what is commonly referred to as "gas and dash." The bill died on the order paper the following month when then Premier Dalton McGuinty prorogued the legislature.
Yesterday, Colle re-introduced his private members' bill known as "Jayesh's Law." The proposed law requires customers at self serve stations to prepay for their gas. As well, heavy fines and jail sentences would be provided for service station owners who require their employees to reimburse them for any gasoline that is stolen.
The bill also amends the Highway Traffic Act to provide for the suspension of drivers licences of those who are convicted of theft of gasoline.
The bill is named after Jayesh Prajapati. The 44-year-old was employed at a Toronto Shell station when he attempted to stop a man from fleeing in his SUV after not paying for $112.85 worth of gas. Prajapati died after he was struck and dragged by the vehicle that did not stop.
Colle, who is the area's MPP, was returning home with his wife from the Toronto International Film Festival when he came upon the crime scene. He introduced the first version of the bill a few days later.
Toronto police have issued a warrant for Max Edwin Tutiven in connection with Prajapati's death. He has yet to be apprehended.
In re-introducing the proposed legislation yesterday, Colle told the legislature there are 10,000 of these thefts in the province every year. The MPP added that service station employees, who earn $10 an hour, risk their lives every time they go to work.
Colle referred to the practice of employers requiring employees to reimburse them for the cost of gasoline stolen as their "dirty little secret." Had Prajapati been required to pay his employer back for the gas stolen by the driver who killed him, it would have amounted to more 10 hours of his wages.
Private members bill rarely pass. But Colle says he has the support not only of some members of his party but of some PC and NDP MPPs as well.
The day before the bill was re-introduced, the Toronto Star reported Toronto police are looking for a suspect who has allegedly fled after filling up his vehicle nine times during the last 12 months.
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