Two men are charged with placing skimming devices on pumps at three Sarasota gas stations, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.
Michel Varona-Saavedra, 18, is charged with six counts of possession of a skimming device, two counts of offense against a computer network and one count of trafficking in counterfeit credit cards. He is being held at the Sarasota County jail on bonds totaling $185,000.
Yoandy Perez-Del Prado, 34, is charged with six counts of possession of a skimming device and two counts of offense against a computer network. He is being held at the Sarasota County jail on bonds totaling $160,000.
At about 1 a.m. Wednesday, someone called the sheriff’s office to report a suspicious white Chevrolet Camaro parked at the closed Sunoco gas station in the 4100 block of Bee Ridge Road, according to a news release. Deputies who were responding to the call, spotted and stopped the Camaro as it was leaving the gas station.
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When deputies searched the Camaro, they found two skimming devices, cordless drills, and a set of keys that gives access to gas pumps. When deputies checked the gas station, they found two more skimmed devices installed on pumps. Varona-Saavedra was also found in possession of five counterfeit credit cards during his interview with detectives, according to the sheriff’s office.
Detectives continued the investigation, and found additional skimming devices at Citgo, 4529 Bee Ridge Road, and 7-Eleven, 6104 S. Tamiami Trail. Customers who purchased gas from one of the gas stations, are advised to check their bank statements for suspicious activity.
The sheriff’s office also wanted to remind drivers of these safety tips:
- Pay with cash inside the store when possible. If you don’t have cash, use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards have better fraud protection
- Check for signs of tampering at the pump. This includes a broken security seal over the door. If something seems out of place, notify gas station personnel.
- Monitor bank statements regularly to spot unauthorized charges. If something doesn’t add up, contact your bank immediately.