For the last five weeks, reports have shown diesel prices on a steady decline across the country. Alleged diesel theft reports have not followed the same trajectory.
In June, Land Line reported on diesel thefts in several states that could be due to rising diesel prices, said local authorities.
More recently, alleged diesel thefts have been reported in Florida and Nevada.
The scheme in Florida was uncovered at a 7-Eleven on Tamiami Trail in Lee County.
Law enforcement was called to the scene by asset protection who notified them of suspicious activity at one of the fuel pumps.
Detectives with the South District Criminal Investigations Division determined a man, Edson Escalona and a woman, Tanilexis Tortolo, worked together to manipulate the pumps and used their own theft devices in doing so.
According to the WFTX-TV report, it was confirmed by 7-Eleven employees as well as asset protection that the theft included a tractor-trailer purchasing 15 gallons of diesel but pumping 200 gallons, a black pickup truck paying for 6 gallons of fuel but pumping 150 gallons, and a silver truck buying 6 gallons, but pumping 98 gallons.
“This couple thought they could travel to Lee County and steal hundreds of gallons of fuel,” Sheriff Carmine Marceno said on the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. “On average, fuel is $4.05 per gallon, and businesses cannot afford to suffer this loss.”
Escalona and Tortolo were charged with fuel by fraudulent means.
Las Vegas heist
Terrible Herbst contacted Las Vegas authorities regarding diesel shortages over multiple days at their Jean, Nev. location.
A KSNV-TV report said 684 gallons of diesel were missing on July 20, and another 1,815 gallons were missing on July 21. The unaccounted for diesel equaled $11,531 in sales.
The report said a fuel supply manager discovered one of the pumps was pried open and a Pulsar device, which can alter the computer so that fuel dispensed is not tracked properly, was inside.
Detectives discovered a box truck similar to a vehicle involved in fuel thefts in the Las Vegas Valley, and potentially Arizona, through surveillance video.
In addition, local police were notified on July 22 of an active fuel theft at the same pump, where officers intercepted the truck.
Miguel Fernandez-Alvarez was found at the pump when police arrived and was detained. A key fob was found on his person that matched fobs used for other Pulsar devices.
The truck was also searched and sophisticated pipes, electric pumps, hoses, nozzles and four large white containers with approximately 500 gallons of fuel in each were found, said the arrest report.
Fernandez-Alvarez was booked on suspicion of felony interference with computers and disregarding the safety of a person or property. According to reports, more charges could be pending.
Fernandez-Alvarez posted bail and is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 23. LL