ORLANDO, Fla. – Two Orlando residents were arrested for tampering with fuel pumps in Lakeland, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Officials said they received information about fuel tampering at gas stations in Lakeland and Lutz in late February and early March, prompting an investigation. Four people were arrested as a result of the investigation, including two men from Orlando.
The department said Yulier Garcia-Martinez and Rogelio Llerena tried to steal fuel from a Circle K in Lakeland on Saturday “by installing a pulsar manipulation device inside one of the pumps.”
“Our law enforcement investigators, officers, and partners are working hard every day to protect Florida consumers and businesses from theft and other fraud at gas stations across our state,” Commissioner Nikki Fried said in a news release. “Whether individuals are trying to steal fuel like in these situations or credit card data with skimmers, know that our department will continue to crackdown on crimes at our gas pumps.”
According to an arrest report, Llerena told deputies he and Garcia-Martinez were going to Tampa to pick up a truck. He said he was inside the Circle K convenience store while Garcia-Martinez put gas into the Ford pickup truck they were traveling in.
Deputies said Garcia-Martinez said the Ford belonged to him and changed his story “several times” about how long he has owned it. The report said Garcia-Martinez finally said he picked up the truck four days ago and put gas into it at the Circle K gas station but denied accessing the pump or tampering. He later claimed ownership of the fuel tampering device.
Garcia-Martinez faces charges of unauthorized access to an electronic device, obtaining fuel fraudulently, criminal mischief, organized scheme to defraud, and unlawful conveyance of fuel.
Llerena faces charges of criminal mischief, interruption or impairment to a business or operation, and unauthorized access to electronic equipment.