VALPARAISO | Police don't often know where to find a person who drives off from a gas station without paying for the fuel.
But a Merrillville woman charged with stealing gas Thursday from a Valparaiso area station had asked the clerk for directions to her next stop.
A clerk at Admiral Petroleum, 208 E. Morthland Drive, told police a woman came into the gas station just before noon and asked for directions to the Social Security office on Eastporte Centre Drive.
The clerk gave her directions, then realized a man who was a passenger in the car had pumped $42 of gas into the car while she was talking to the driver.
The clerk told police the woman walked out and got into the driver's seat. The woman told police she ran after the car, trying to get them to stop, but the woman drove away.
Police were called and searched the immediate area for the car with no luck. When they talked to the clerk, she told them the woman had asked for directions to the Social Security office. Another officer went to the office, located the car and two suspects who matched the description given by the clerk.
The driver at first told police she didn't realize the passenger had pumped the fuel. But police said she then admitted she knew that they had not paid for the fuel. Police said she later offered to pay for the fuel, but she only had $37 with her.
The passenger told police he didn't tell her immediately about the fuel he pumped. But police said his story didn't match the driver's story.
Jernanna Gardner, 31, of Merrillville, the driver, was arrested and charged with theft.
Damion Wilson, 31, of Merrillville, the passenger, was arrested on an outstanding warrant from Lake County.