CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — Starting Tuesday, gas stations in Charlotte County must have locks on every pump or face hundreds of dollars in fines.
John Melley buys gas regularly at the Marathon gas station on Tamiami Trail and Carmalita Street in Punta Gorda. He said he’s glad the county is joining Punta Gorda’s efforts to reduce card theft. “I feel a lot safer,” he said. “I think it’s a good idea. I think the City of Punta Gorda has been pretty firm on gas stations making sure they protect their citizens.”
Protect them from skimmers, which are devices placed inside of the gas pump that criminals use to steal your credit and debit card information.
Rajendra Patel works at the Marathon and said they got the locks installed a few months ago. “So nobody touches on the inside,” he said.
The lock is on the side pump’s side panel. It prevents the pump from being opened easily and can protect customer's card information.
After Punta Gorda passed the ordinance, police checked several gas stations to make sure they had the locks including the Marathon where Patel works. He said they got them installed right after the department’s visit, so he said they were able to dodge the $250 fees.
That’s $250 per pump per day. Melley said the fines are worth it.
“I absolutely think it’s fair. If it continues to happen constantly, and you don’t do something to protect your customers, you should be fined,” he said.