Skimming devices were found on gas pumps in Palm Harbor and Seminole on Thursday, and Pinellas County sheriff's detectives are looking for a suspect in one of the cases.
Skimmers are devices used by identity thieves that copy data off credit and debit cards.
The first skimmer was found about 5 a.m. by an employee at the Speedway gas station located at 2734 U.S. Alternate 19, in Palm Harbor. Deputies determined that someone forced open the gas pump and installed the skimmer sometime between 3:45 a.m. Wednesday and 3:45 a.m. Thursday.
The second skimmer was found at the Speedway gas station located at 11708 Seminole Blvd. Employees received an alert from the gas pump at about 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, indicating that someone tampered with the gas pump. Employees inspected the pump and found the skimming device.
Detectives say employees shut down the gas pump before any customers could use it.
Surveillance video showed a black SUV pull up to the pump about the time the alarm went off. An unidentified male suspect exited the passenger side of the vehicle and entered the store while at least one other suspect remained with the vehicle at the gas pump. The suspect is seen on video entering the store but he never makes a purchase. The suspect leaves the store, gets back into the SUV, and the SUV pulls away.
The suspect is a white or Hispanic male, approximately 35-45 years of age, wearing a white hat, a blue long-sleeve shirt, light-colored jeans ripped at the knees, and dark shoes.
Detectives are asking customers who bought gas at the Speedway gas stations to check with their financial institutions to see if there were any unauthorized bank transactions. If so, they should notify the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office at (727) 582-6200.
Anyone with information that may assist detectives in this case is asked to contact Detective James Holden at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office (727) 582-6200 or remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS or on their website.
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