A Smithtown man was arrested Monday afternoon accused of stealing gasoline from at least 16 gas stations throughout Suffolk County, a police news release said.
Walter Amerbach, 21, was arrested Tuesday afternoon by Third Precinct patrol officers. Police said they tracked down Amerbach after he filled up at a St. James gas station and didn’t pay. Police said Amerbach had been doing the same thing for the past four months, noting that he would pull up to a gas pump in his 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee and ask the attendant to fill the tank. “When the tank was full, the suspect drove off without paying,” said police.
On Feb. 26, Amerbach allegedly pulled into the Wave Gas Station at 386 Lake Ave. in St. James and asked to fill his tank. When the attendant finished, Amerbach allegedly drove off, but employees were able to obtain his license plate number.
Fourth Precinct officers sent a county-wide notification with the description and plate number of the vehicle, and officers patrolling in Bay Shore spotted the car at the Planet Fitness gym on Sunrise Highway.
On his Instagram profile, Amerbach posted photos of a Jeep, which matched the description provided by police. A law enforcement source confirmed the license plate number shown in the photos to be the same as the one wanted in connection with the gas thefts. Dozens of other photos on the page showed a substance appearing to be marijuana, with photo captions referencing “420,” “weed,” and “bud.”
Amerbach was charged with 11 counts of petit larceny. He was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday at First District Court in Central Islip, but was being questioned by investigators mid-morning, according to a police spokeswoman.
Amerbach remains in police custody and will be arraigned Thursday in a Central Islip courtroom.