Accused petrol thief 'will return to pay'

A BORDER woman named as a serial petrol thief in an Albury petrol station owner’s social media campaign that went national this week has rejected the accusation.

Deanna Matijasevic, 21, said she had no money in her bank account when she went to pay for $104.86 worth of petrol at Norris Park IGA on February 20.

Ms Matijasevic, who works part-time for a health service, said she also had no money when her card was declined at a petrol station in Wangaratta.

A Current Affair said in its television program on Monday that six other petrol station attendants had accused Ms Matijasevic of stealing petrol.

“I didn’t steal it,” Ms Matijasevic said.

“I used my card and I had no money on my card and it came up declined. 

“It’s not like I put petrol in my car and took off ... I’ve got a heart of gold and I’d never do anything to anyone.”

The story was sparked after Norris Park IGA owner Gary Johnson posted security footage on Facebook and YouTube of Ms Matijasevic promising to come back to pay.

“We thought this could get it out a lot quicker (than a police investigation). Everyone knows her, she’s a local girl, they’ll see it, Google search for her name and then you’ve got people putting pressure on her saying ‘listen, you’ve got to pay this’,” Mr Johnson said.

He said 99 per cent of those who could not pay for their petrol did come back to pay for it later that day or the next day.

“It’s the ones that play the system in NSW and Victoria and know they can get away with it. It’s fraud. It’s going from service station to service station and it’s an offence,” he said.

Albury police Inspector David Cottee said officers were investigating and he called for more service stations who had been victims to come forward.

He said taking or photocopying drivers’ licences when customers promised to come back may help deter or identify thieves and suggested adopting pre-paid systems at night.

Ms Matijasevic said she would pay back the money she owed.

“I went into most of them and said I haven’t been paid yet, I’ll come in and do it. It’s not like I completely ignored them and now I’m the one that looks like a d---head,” she said.

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