NEWBERRY, S.C. — A scammer in Newberry was able to steal hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel using stolen credit card information.
The Newberry County Sheriff's Office is warning residents and others around the Midlands about scams at the gas pump that we could be seeing more frequently with rising gas prices.
Deputies arrested 20-year-old Lucas Paul Reyes on Tuesday on several charges including Financial Transaction Card Theft and Breaking Into a Fuel Tank.
"He was able to replace the pump that would normally put fuel in the vehicle and pipe it into these large tanks, and he was paying for it all with people's credit cards," Sheriff Lee Foster explained.
Reyes was seen by gas station employees at the Pilot Truck Plaza on Hwy. 773, using blank credit cards, and pumping fuel into a trailer that was connected to his truck.
I spoke with residents like Robin King at a local gas station to learn how safe they feel at the pump. King says after hearing about Reyes' crimes she is trying to be more cautious.
"I always try to look around while I'm getting gas to make sure nothing is strange. It's important to be aware of your surroundings," King said.
However, Sheriff Foster says paying attention is only part of what you need to do to stay safe.
"Always look at the card reader before you put your debit or credit card in there," Foster said. "These card readers can be at remote ATMs or gas pumps."
If you choose to pay at the pump instead of going inside, Foster says you should look for any other devices on top of the card reader or any wires sticking out. This could mean there is a skimmer waiting to take down the card information.
He also says if you see anything strange with the number pad to go tell someone inside the gas station immediately.
"I'm afraid we're going to start seeing more of this. This is the second fuel theft here in 2 weeks. Fuel is like gold right now," the sheriff said.
Newberry Sheriff's Office Investigation team is in the process of contacting people who had their card information stolen. He says if your bank statement shows gas that you did not buy, contact your bank immediately, and once the card is cut off, then call law enforcement.