I was advised by my boss to report to work on the Sunday before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. I did not leave work until the Tuesday after Hurricane Katrina hit. However, I was then required to work 12 hour shifts daily for the next month.
I lived in the suburbs of New Orleans but worked in the central business district. I had to travel approximately 18 miles, one way to work, then 12 hours later, return home. There was NO electricity and everyone had evacuated. Since no gas stations were open, I was running very low on gas in my truck after only a few days with NO way of obtaining more gas by conventional means.
As I was leaving my residence one day, I noticed that most people in my neighborhood had taken only one of their vehicles when they evacuated and left another one or two vehicles in their driveway.
Since I knew most of the people that lived on my half of the block, I siphoned gas from my neighbor’s vehicles that had evacuated their residence.
I siphoned the gas into five (5) gallon gas cans. I wrote I.O.U.s, with the amount of gas I had siphoned from their vehicle along with my name, address and phone number. I placed the I.O.U. in a zip lock food storage bag and placed them under the windshield wiper of the vehicle I took the gas from. I then poured the gasoline from the five (5) gallon gas cans into my truck.
One day I observed a City Police Officer and advised him of what I had been doing to obtain gasoline for my truck. He advised me that he did not see a problem if I had left an IOU and intended to replace the gasoline.
As gas stations started to open in the area, I purchased gas and placed it in my five (5) gallon gas cans. I replaced all of the gas that I had borrowed before any of my neighbors’ returned home. As I replaced the gas, I recovered the IOUs that I had left on their windshields.
When my neighbors returned home, I told each one of them what I had done and why. I spoke to my neighbors because I did not want to take the chance that someone had witnessed me taking the gas and might tell my neighbors that I had stolen from them.
Everyone that I had spoken to told me that it was a smart thing to do. Also, they told me that they did not mind as long as I had replaced the gas in their cars.