December 6, 2023

Commonwealth v. Devon Drumgoole; Commonwealth v. Rashane Maleek Antonio Griffith; Men Sentenced for Gas Station Theft Scheme

Virginia Beach, Va. – Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the city of Virginia Beach, announced that Devon Drumgoole, age 23, formerly of the 6600 block of Jefferson Court in Norfolk, Virginia, and Rashane Maleek Antonio Griffith, age 26, formerly of the 800 block of South Main Street in Norfolk, Virginia, were each sentenced for charges of Grand Larceny (2 counts), Possession of Burglary Tools (2 counts), and Conspiracy to Commit Grand Larceny (2 counts). Circuit Court Judge Les L. Lilley sentenced Drumgoole to fifteen (15) years in prison with ten (10) years suspended, leaving five (5) years to serve. This was significantly higher than the recommendation of the Virginia State Sentencing Guidelines, which recommended a maximum sentence of six (6) months. Griffith was sentenced to fifteen (15) years in prison with eight (8) years suspended, leaving seven (7) years to serve. This was also significantly higher than the recommendation of the Virginia State Sentencing Guidelines, which recommended a maximum sentence of two (2) years and eleven (11) months. Judge Lilley stated that he sentenced above the high end of the guidelines because of the “magnitude of the scam, and the boldness and arrogance” of the defendants.

Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth’s evidence would have proven that on May 26, 2022, and between June 9 and 14, 2022, Drumgoole and Griffith engaged in a scam involving gasoline thefts from several gas stations across Hampton Roads. On the evening of June 14, 2022, Virginia Beach Police Officers conducted surveillance on the Citgo gas station located at 1405 North Great Neck Road in Virginia Beach. Based on an ongoing investigation, they suspected that gas was going to be illegally sold at that location starting around 11:00 p.m. Patrol officers observed as drivers pulled their vehicles up to the gas pumps, conducted hand to hand transactions with one of the suspects, had gas pumped into their vehicle by one of the suspects, and then drove off. The vehicle drivers never exited their vehicles. Officers observed the suspects waving some sort of handheld device in front of the pump. After watching this activity for nearly an hour, officers descended on the gas station and detained everyone at the scene.

Devon Drumgoole had a small black handheld “Wayne” device in his possession. Rashane Griffith had an identical “Wayne” device and a large bundle of cash in his sock. The “Wayne” devices Drumgoole and Griffith possessed are typically used by technicians working on gas pumps. They allow the technician to bypass the credit card requirement and produce free flow of the gas pumps during repairs and maintenance of pumps.

Detectives searched Griffith’s phone and an Instagram account belonging to Drumgoole. They recovered countless messages advertising the “fill-up” nights. The messages and posts contained the locations and times where Drumgoole and Griffith planned to operate the scams. On June 14, 2022, Drumgoole posted, “gas fill ups tonight at 11! Don’t be late and spread the word” along with “all gas half off DM me for addy”. The messages also instructed other Instagram users on how to conduct the scam.

Through their investigation, detectives learned that on May 26, 2022, Drumgoole and Griffith conducted an almost identical operation at the Circle D Gas Station and Food Mart at 971 Virginia Beach Boulevard. On Drumgoole’s Instagram, detectives located a video that was created at 11:39 p.m. on May 26, 2022. This video showed Griffith demonstrating how the “Wayne” device worked to bypass the credit card requirement on the gas pump in order to create free flow of gasoline.

Drumgoole and Griffith committed these acts on dozens of occasions and stole tens of thousands of dollars. Both the Circle D and Citgo gas stations were able to recover most of these funds through their insurance companies. Drumgoole and Griffith were each ordered to pay the deductible back to each gas station, in the form of $4,250 restitution by each defendant.

Drumgoole has two prior convictions for Petit Larceny. Griffith has prior convictions for Shoplifting, Conspiracy to Commit Larceny, Grand Larceny, and several traffic violations. At the time of these offenses, he was on probation for a Larceny conviction.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Katharine D. Aicher prosecuted this case. Please contact Macie Allen if additional information is desired.

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