Sheriff: 2 men arrested after more than 1,000 gallons of fuel
Deputies claim that Jorge Luis Puerto Ruiz and David Dopico-Avila carried out several fraudulent transactions between October and November.
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Two men accused of stealing more than 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel in Tampa were arrested Friday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
The agency claims that Jorge Luis Puerto Ruiz, 34, and David Dopico-Avila, 27, made several fraudulent transactions between October and November.
On November 7 and 8, investigators were able to develop a lead on the suspects after making four separate transactions between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.
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“Each time they visited the gas station, the suspects parked near a pump for approximately 35 to 45 minutes,” the agency wrote in a press release.
Deputies say the suspects paid for around 65 gallons of diesel, but a tank volume reader showed more than 1,000 gallons of fuel had been removed from the tank.
Investigators were able to link the two men to incidents of a similar nature that occurred on October 28 and 29.
According to the sheriff’s office, deputies eventually confronted the men at a Marathon gas station on Fletcher Avenue.
“After speaking with the store clerk, detectives learned that the computer-based pump was moving slowly, indicating that a ‘pulsator’ or manipulation device may have been illegally installed,” the report said. Press release.
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Investigators noted that after five minutes of a fully engaged pump, the bill was only $11.
Deputies say the men used modified trucks with illegal fuel tanks that could hold very large amounts of diesel fuel.
“The suspects were in possession of the gas station pump key and deputies opened it to discover a pulsator manipulation device,” the deputies wrote.
“Hard working people suffer at the hands of these thieves every time incidents like this happen,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “These suspects have successfully stolen thousands of dollars worth of fuel over the past month.”
Jorge Ruiz and David Dopico-Avila have been charged with illegally transporting fuel and fraudulently obtaining motor or diesel fuel.