Crime

Three men arrested after credit card skimmers found at Coast gas station

Jiminez, Martinez and Pina
Jiminez, Martinez and Pina

Harrison County deputies alerted the public Monday evening to check their credit card statements after seven credit card skimmers were found at Robinwood One Stop gas station.

Sheriff Troy Peterson said a call regarding a suspicious vehicle next to the Saucier gas station after business hours Wednesday night led to three arrests in connection with the scam.

Luis Alberto Jiminez, 29, Alejandro Lorene Martinez, 31, and Yaudel Pina, all of Houston, are being held at the Harrison County jail on four charges of possession of a scanning device. Justice Court Judge Brandon Ladner set bond amounts at $15,000 per charge.

Peterson said deputies responded to the call about 11 p.m. and made contact with the three men in the vehicle. He said they were initially arrested on charges of trespassing, but deputies found items located in the vehicle that were used in placing and operating scanning devices that had recently been placed in the gas pumps.

Peterson said the investigation revealed Pina, Jiminez and Martinez were responsible for the skimmers.

Peterson said when deputies pulled up to the gas station the three men were attempting to download information from skimmers that had been discovered — and subsequently removed from the gas pumps — three days earlier.

“It’s a good thing they didn’t” pay attention to local news coverage of the skimmers, Peterson said.

Anyone who used their credit card at the Robinwood One Stop between March 13-20 to contact the sheriff’s department at 228-865-7060 so a report can be filed.

Peterson said Homeland Security is assisting Harrison County deputies in the case. More charges are expected, he said.

Monday’s discovery marked the second time in 14 months skimmers have been found at the same gas station.

Peterson said they believe these three men were involved in the credit card thefts from Jan. 2017 — due in large part to the equipment being the same — but they’re still trying to build a case to connect the two incidents.

Eric Vitale, fraud investigation specialist with the San Luis Obispo Police Department, demonstrates how to spot a card skimmer on an ATM, gas pump or other card reader. He also offers advice for keeping your PIN and card information safe.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2326, @PatrickOchs

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