Wiring altered at gas station pumps in Sunnyvale prompts credit card fraud investigation

Friday, October 12, 2018
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Police are investigating a possible case of credit card fraud at a gas station after two people were arrested for tampering with wiring at six pumps in Sunnyvale.

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (KGO) -- Police say residents in a Sunnyvale neighborhood busted two people they suspected of trying to install credit card skimmers on gas pumps. The suspects were arrested after they ran from the World Gas Station on West Maude Avenue.

The World Gas Station on West Maude Avenue was closed and had little light on when the Department of Public Safety was called there around midnight.

"The neighbor reported as cars would pass by the two people with flashlights would duck and hide," said Capt. Craig Anderson with the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety.

Officers responded and the two suspects ran off but they were caught in the neighborhood and arrested.

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The gas station's operation manager, Jorge Mendoza, explained to ABC7 what they were trying to do.

"They just open the doors and there is a specific place where they need to check where the card reader read the card and that's where they put a bypass," he said.

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Anderson added, "What we found is after looking in the vehicle, searching the vehicle, we found devices that are used for skimming credit card numbers."

Two people were arrested. Police say one has an outstanding warrant and may be connected to a similar crime in another state.

World Gas Station was closed until the service expert on the payment systems arrived and made sure everything was working properly.

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"I'll actually give the card reader a little bit of a tug because many of the skimmers are actually attached on the outside and I'll check to see if it's loose," Anderson said. "But I think that if someone is a little bit more sophisticated and they're somehow able to penetrate into the machine it might be a little bit more difficult to evaluate whether or not there's a skimmer on it."

The gas station manager says you can check for seals on the machine to see if someone has broken into it, but it appears these crooks even had some of those replacement seals in their possession.