Woman Uses Fuel Pump Exploit to Get $28,000 Worth of Fuel Over Six Months

A Nebraska woman has been charged with theft after allegedly exploiting a fuel pump glitch to get over $27,000 worth of free gas over a period of nearly seven months.

Imagine finding out one day that you can abuse a fuel pump glitch to get as much gas as you want for free. Would you do it? Well, one 45-year-old woman from Lincoln, Nebraska, sure did, and now she’s paying for it. According to Bosselman Enterprise, the corporation that owns the Pump and Pantry near West O Street and Sun Valley Boulevard, Dawn Thompson used an exploit to get thousands of gallons of gas over a period of six and a half months without anyone noticing. Somehow, the woman realized that she could access the pump’s demo mode by swiping her rewards card twice, and from there she could pump gas without getting charged. She was thus able to pump over 7,400 gallons, which resulted in a theft of almost $28,000.


Photo: engin akyurt/Unsplash

It all started in November of 2022 when the pumps at Pump and Pantry received a software update that managed order and reward cards. However, unbeknown to the company, the update came with a simple exploit that allowed to access the pump’s demo mode by simply swiping their card twice. The exploit was eventually discovered and the software was patched on June 1st, 2023, but by that time a particular card had already been used to steal a considerable amount of fuel.

By tracing the card, Bosselman Enterprise identified Thompson, and surveillance camera footage confirmed that she had fueled her vehicle at the station multiple times. Records show that the reward card was used a total of 510 times between November 13, 2022, and June 1st, 2023, sometimes multiple times per day. During this time, her card accrued minimal rewards, because it wasn’t used as intended.


Bosselman Enterprise alerted the Lincoln Police about Thomson after one of the company’s loss prevention managers learned about her behavior. During the ensuing investigation, police also tracked down another woman who had used Thompson’s reward card on several occasions. She told investigators that Thompson would let her use the card to get “discounted fuel.” Basically, she paid the 45-year-old woman $500 for about $700 of gas.

Court documents showed that Dawn Thompson sold her reward card in June of 2023, after the update that finally fixed the exploitable glitch. She was arrested on March 6 after a months-long investigation and arraigned the following day. Her next Court hearing is on April 11.

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