Robert Faulkner, owner of Farmingville-based Direct Marine Fuel Corp., charged $4.80 a gallon from his tanker at the Lake Shore Plaza on Portion Road, police said. Sunday night, more than 100 vehicles were gathered in the shopping center and along Portion Road to buy Faulkner's gas when Sixth Precinct officers arrived, police said.
Faulkner, who primarily delivers fuel to vessels and to Verizon, said he had originally arranged to fill up friends' cars at the plaza, but saw an opportunity in the long lines at the gas station across the street. He even paid five friends to keep order in the lines, he said.
He denied he was breaking any law, saying his business permits allow him to distribute fuel and that town officials should "bend the rules" in the crisis.
"I had an opportunity to make more money," Faulkner said. "I'm not hiding that fact, but you know what? I was helping people in the process."
He said he had waited three hours Sunday at a petroleum wholesaler's Holtsville location to fill his tanker with about 2,800 gallons of regular fuel.
An estimated 800 to 900 gallons was sold before police arrived, Faulkner said. One of the customers, he recalled, included an elderly woman who said she had waited futilely in three different lines in three days.
Faulkner, 48, of 10 Antrim Lane, Farmingville, was issued town summonses for handling flammable liquids without a permit and also for improper dispensing of flammable liquids, police said. The summonses were from a Brookhaven Town fire marshal and town building and fire prevention official, police said.