HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Two men accused of stealing over 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel in Tampa were arrested Friday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
The agency says Jorge Luis Puerto Ruiz, 34, and 27-year-old David Dopico-Avila made several fraudulent transactions between October and November.
On Nov. 7 and Nov. 8, investigators were able to develop a lead on the suspects after they made four separate transactions between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.
"On each occasion where they visited the gas station, the suspects would park near one pump for approximately 35 to 45 minutes," the agency wrote in a news release.
Deputies say the suspects paid for about 65 gallons of diesel, but a tank volume reader showed over 1,000 gallons of fuel was removed from the tank.
Investigators were able to link the two men to incidents similar in nature that happened on Oct. 28 and Oct. 29. Deputies say the same white pickup paid for 20 gallons of fuel, but it was later determined that around 520 gallons were stolen.
The sheriff's office says, deputies eventually confronted the men at a Marathon gas station on Fletcher Avenue.
"After speaking with the store clerk, detectives learned the pump, based on the computer was moving slowly indicating that a "pulsator" or manipulation device was possibly illegally installed," the news release reads.
Investigators noted that after five minutes of a fully engaged pump, the bill only came out to be $11.
Deputies say the men used modified trucks that had illegal tanks that could hold extremely large amounts of diesel fuel.
"The suspects were in possession of the gas station's pump key and deputies opened it to discover a pulsator manipulation device," deputies wrote.
“Hard-working people are suffering at the hands of these thieves whenever incidents like this occur,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “These suspects managed to steal thousands of dollars worth of fuel within the last month."
Jorge Ruiz and David Dopico-Avila were charged with Unlawful Conveyance of Fuel and Fraudulently Obtaining Motor or Diesel Fuel.