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Florida men hacked gas pumps to get pennies a gallon

It’s a pump and dumps scheme.

Four Florida men were arrested for installing devices in gas pumps that reduced prices to almost nothing – an alarming trend officials said will only spread as fuel costs rise.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said the suspects built sophisticated “pulsators” into pumps that regulate the price and flow of fuel.

The devices pushed the cost per gallon down to just pennies and allowed tankers to refuel almost for free.

The scammers allegedly ran the scheme at two separate Circle K stations in Lakeland and Lutz.

Rogelio Llerena and Yulier Garcia-Martinez were arrested March 12 while filling up an oversized gas tank in Lakeland.

A man fills up his vehicle with the price of gasoline displayed on the gas pump at a gas station in Orlando, Florida.
The devices brought the cost per gallon down to just pennies and allowed tankers to fill up for almost nothing.
AP Photo/John Raoux

Garcia-Martinez even had a remote device to manipulate the pulsators, officials said.

Yordian Diaz-Benitez of Tampa was arrested March 10 at a Lutz gas station for stealing diesel fuel. Marlon Rosel-Rodriguez was tied up two days later for attempting to place the device in a pump at the same gas station.

Florida Department of Agriculture President Ned Bowman said skyrocketing gasoline prices are making life difficult for scammers.

“These are criminal rings,” Bowman told the Post. “I think you’ll see how that expands.”

Bowman said the schemers drive large trucks with oversized tanks to compromised gas pumps and fill up on the cheap fuel before selling it on for a hefty profit.

Marlon Rosel-Rodriguez and Jordan Diaz Benitez of Tampa.  At the Lakeland location, they arrested Yulier Garcia-Martinez and Rogelio Llarena of Orlando.
Marlon Rosel-Rodriguez, Yordan Diaz Benitez, Yulier Garcia-Martinez and Rogelio Llarena reportedly performed the program at two separate Circle K stations in Lakeland and Lutz.

With Florida’s gas prices flirting at $5 a gallon and gas thieves able to fill up with loose change, Bowman claims the practice hurts both dealers and regulars.

“It’s a big deal,” he said.

Law enforcement officials have warned service station owners to watch out for trucks that have stopped at pumps for an unusually long time.

Concerned station employees are also checking their storage outflows and receipts to look for hacked pumps.

“As gas prices hit record highs, fuel theft can further inflate costs for all consumers,” FDACS Commissioner Nikki Fried said in a statement.

https://nypost.com/2022/03/21/florida-men-hacked-gas-pumps-to-get-pennies-on-gallon/ Florida men hacked gas pumps to get pennies a gallon

JACLYN DIAZ

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