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FHP seizes vehicles involved in stolen gas, identify theft operations in South Florida

Posted at 10:49 PM, Jul 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-12 22:49:13-04

MIAMI-DADE, Fla. - The Florida Highway Patrol seized several vehicles investigators said were involved in a stolen gas scheme in South Florida.

"Florida is number 2 in vehicle thefts involving gasoline products," Walter Zalisko said. Zalisko had seen the heist before in his work as a private investigator and as a police chief.

"They go to gas stations use skimmers to take your information," Zalisko said. "They buy gift cards using the skimmed information. Then they use those gift cards to buy the gas," he added.

Chuck DeBono runs DeBono Stop and Go in Cape Coral. He said thieves have grown more sophisticated as time passes.

"They can't get away with the big box trucks," DeBono said. "They use smaller and less noticeable vehicles nows," he added.

DeBono said the new technology at gas pumps in Cape Coral protects against the threat of card skimmers. He said the card readers also cap the amount per card per transaction.

"The problem is if they have a numerous cards they can run them until they full a their tank," DeBono said.

Zalisko worried about the danger these outfitted trucks pose on the road.

"They're time bombs," he said. "They have no protection like a regular gasoline truck," he added.

The only way to spot those up to no good with hidden tanks is to pay attention to the time the driver spends at the gas pump.

"It only takes 2 maybe 3 minutes to fill up your tank," DeBono said. "Anything longer than that and you should start to get suspicious," he added.