LAS VEGAS - Three suspects have been arrested for gas pump “skimming” throughout the Las Vegas valley.
Metro Police say Osniel Tumbarell, Ruban Rivera, and Alian Bana-Garcia are facing multiple charges of conspiracy theft and establishing a financial forgery laboratory around several gas stations around Clark County.
On April 7, Metro detectives from the Financial Crimes Section began their investigation on the suspects. The three individuals were observed by clerk at the Terrible Herbst Chevron Gas Station on Cheyenne Avenue and Rainbow Boulevard for alleging tampering a gas pump without permission from the business.
"Skimming is very prevalent, very popular and it continues to go on,” Metro Police Det. Jeff Grace said.
Police say it appeared the suspects either placed or removed a scanning device, otherwise known as a “skimmer,” in the gas pump’s internal mechanism. Tumberell was observed driving a rented U-Haul van out of Arizona and Rivera was seen driving a dark colored truck. The skimmer, when placed in the machine, acts as a mobile forgery laboratory by allowing someone to collect, and disseminate a person’s credit card payment information. These Illegal actions allow an individual to make forged credit cards to defraud the victim.
On April 12 at a gas station on the 6400 block of South Durango Drive, police conducted continued surveillance on the two suspects and a third, Bana-Garcia, tampering with gas pumps along with a scanning device inside.
Resident Karen Huckabay says she's already felt the frustration of fraud after her credit card data was skimmed, but it's still happening. In fact, police say the exact gas station she's attended was recently targeted.
"When we first moved out here, we did get hacked and we narrowed it down and believe it was a gasoline stations,” Huckabay said.
Tumbarell and Rivera were working in unison inserting scanning devices into the Terrible Herbst Chevron gas pumps around the Las Vegas Valley, specifically at 105 Desert Foothills and 6480 South Durango, according to police.
Identify experts say one way to protect yourself is by never using a debit card when you are getting gas because those are easier to target.