Gas stations across the city have a history with crime.
And the people who work there are not the best equipped to deal with it.
The following stories were originally published by News.au, but have been republished here with their permission.
Gas stations have a long history of criminal activity.
In the early 1800s, there were no gas stations to be found in Miami-Dade County, but the city’s population grew to a staggering 4.6 million by 1900.
And as it grew, the number of people who would drive to the gas station became a daily occurrence.
“The gas station business was very much alive.
There were always lots of people there and the owners were very generous with their patronage.
The people who worked there were very, very generous,” says Mike Stacey, a former Miami-area gas station owner who owns two gas stations.
There were also plenty of crime stories at the time.
Stacey’s first gas station opened in 1906, at a time when Miami-dade was known as a hotbed for crime.
At the time, it was a one-stop shop for customers looking for a quick gas fix.
It was the largest and oldest gas station in the city, with seating for nearly 2,000 customers and a grandstand seating capacity of 12,000.
By the early 1900s, crime was so prevalent at the station that Stacey decided to open a new gas station.
A man was caught on tape stealing $7,000 from a woman who had parked her car at the gas pumps.
Another man was accused of stealing from a car that was parked in a gas station parking lot.
When Stacey opened the first of his gas stations, he had just completed a six-month trial for the theft.
As he watched his customers wait for their gas, Stacey knew something was wrong.
He had a vision of a scene he’d never seen before.
“[The victim] had parked in front of a gas pump, in front, but there were more cars in the parking lot and there was a woman in the car that had left her car,” he says.
‘I don’t know what I’m going to do’As the case dragged on, the victim’s family members were fed up with the lack of attention she was receiving from the police.
She was a victim of domestic violence and Stacey began to believe that she was the target of some sort of crime.
“It was obvious to me she was a vulnerable woman, but at the same time I don’t think I understood what the police were doing,” he recalls.
I felt like I was being watched, I didn’t know where to turn.
“When the first case came to light, the police told me that it was because the women had called police because they felt threatened by him,” he continues.
But Stacey says that police were never the victims in his case.
Instead, they were the criminals.
Police took a man in his 30s to court, where he was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
After he was convicted, he was sent to jail for 15 months.
Eventually, Stacia decided to close the gas stations that had been operating for decades.
His goal was to create a new business, but in the process, he found himself battling crime in his own community.
For Stacey’s second gas station, the gas pump owner wanted to close it down too.
They wanted to move to a new location, but Stacey could no longer justify the cost of running the station in his neighborhood.
So, he decided to build his own gas station and start his own business.
With a lot of help from the local community, he built the first gas pump in his backyard and opened it in 2009.
Now, he says the only people who go to the pumps are those who have a gas bill and customers who have purchased a car.
We just want to give them the option to do their own business,” he said.
Today, Stace’s new gas pumps have seen over 5,000 visitors, and he says he gets around 2,200 visits per day.
However, he doesn’t think he will close the station any time soon.
People who go into a gas store do so to shop, he explains.
While the average person will visit the gas store about five times a year, Stacys business is on the rise.
If you go to a gas machine, it’s because you want to purchase a car or a truck, he said, and it’s not because of any crime.
He also believes that there are some people who will use the gas machines as a means of escape.
Like many gas stations throughout the city and state, Stacer’s is known for being a place where people can come to relax, grab a drink