The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) recently arrested and charged a man for an “elaborate plot” to steal diesel fuel and to defraud unsuspecting credit card holders.
In a June 15 news release, the NCSO says that an officer was following up on a previous large diesel fuel theft at the Pilot Travel Center on Highway 773 in Prosperity, South Carolina, when the officer and a manager noticed another diesel fuel theft taking place.
Police and the store manager noticed a person pumping diesel fuel into a pickup truck while reviewing surveillance video from the previous theft. While reviewing the video, it was determined that it was the same pickup from the previous crime.
When an officer attempted to detain the pickup driver, he allegedly tried to drive away but was eventually arrested after a brief confrontation.
The NCSO details the diesel theft scheme:
Further investigation showed the suspect was utilizing stolen credit card numbers and forged credit cards to activate the fuel pumps. He was also doing something to alter the mechanisms on the fuel pump. Sheriff Lee Foster said the suspect had an ingenious mechanism for stealing the fuel in addition to using the stolen credit card information. The suspect would pump the fuel into the pickup truck, then a rigged pump on the undercarriage of the truck would transfer the fuel to a bladder in an enclosed trailer.
Sheriff Foster continued that the stolen credit card numbers came from a “skimmer” device placed on gas pumps, which can read and record the credit card numbers as the card is placed into a gas pump. The devices are easily unrecognizable. Sheriff Foster warned consumers to always look at the credit card slot on a gas pump or any machine, which takes credit/debit cards and is unattended. Most times the skimmer is placed over the credit card orifice and is not firmly secured. It can be easily detected by wiggling the slot before the card is swiped or scanned. Consumers should review their credit/debit card statements thoroughly to determine if any charges are made that were not incurred by the owner, especially if you purchased fuel in the area. The statements should outline where the purchases were made and the amount. If you find an unusual charge, call the credit card company immediately and then report to your local law enforcement.
The NCSO said that 20 year old Florida resident Lucas Paul Reyes has been arrested and charged with Driving Without a License, Resisting Arrest, Financial Transaction Card Theft, Financial Transaction Card Fraud, Breaking into a Fuel Tank, and Violation of the Computer Crime Act.
“I guess the criminal does return to the scene of the crime,” said Sheriff Foster.