Polk County Sheriff’s detectives assigned to the Identity Theft Strike Force arrested a Tampa man for using fraudulent credit cards to steal diesel fuel from different gas stations in Polk County.
According to the affidavit, the investigation began on July 8, 2013, in response to numerous fuel thefts that occurred during the first week of July 2013 at Murphy’s USA gas stations in the county. PCSO detectives specifically focused on two stations, one in Mulberry and one in Winter Haven. Detectives learned that on July 3rd and July 8th, a suspect in a white 2000 model Ford truck was observed purchasing approximately 99 gallons of diesel fuel with stolen or altered credit cards.
On July 10, 2013, a truck matching the suspect vehicle description was observed pumping gas from the pump into a device located in the bed of the truck. The truck left the area at a high rate of speed, and PCSO deputies conducted a traffic stop. Upon interviewing the driver and searching the truck, detectives located the following:
· 89 plastic cards with magnetic stripes – 20 of which were on the suspect
· The cards were an assortment of Walmart gift cards, hotel door keys, and credit cards
· All of the cards had re-encoded credit information (meaning there are victims whose personal credit information has been stolen and then coded onto the various cards)
· The card used to purchase the aforementioned fuel at the gas station on July 10th was a Walmart gift card that had someone’s stolen credit information coded onto it
· The metal tool box area in the bed of the truck was fitted with a compartment that led to a large metal tank in the bed of the truck, used to store the diesel that the suspects “purchased” at the pumps
The driver of the truck was positively identified as Noel Perez-Partagas, DOB 9/28/1992, of 6403 North Armenia Avenue in Tampa. He was placed under arrest and booked into the Polk County Jail on one count Trafficking in Stolen Credit Cards (F-2), one count Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards (M-1), one count Obtaining Fuel Fraudulently (F-3), one count Unlawful Conveyance of Fuel (F-3), and one count Petit Theft (M-2).