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31 skimmers found, removed from gas stations across Hillsborough County

Posted at 5:07 PM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-24 06:52:55-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — During a three-day operation, Hillsborough County detectives located and removed several skimmers.

The sheriff's office said between Sept. 14-16, the sheriff's office, the Florida Department of Agriculture and the Tampa Police Department set out on "Operation Skimmer Sweep."

Together, they inspected and examined thousands of gas pumps for any signs of tampering in the county.

In total, detectives inspected 440 gas stations and 13,612 gas pumps. Detectives found and removed 31 skimmers.

"Our detectives are proactively taking steps to protect the citizens and those visiting us here in Hillsborough County," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "At this time, we do not believe anybody's personal information was compromised. If you believe you may have been compromised, I urge you to call our non-emergency number at (813) 247-8200 or you can even file a report online."

The 31 skimmers were sent to the evidence section. Fingerprints found on them will be used for possible suspect identification.

Officials said at least one suspect has already been positively identified as a result of "Operation Skimmer Sweep."

Lester Echemendia Tapia, 41, was arrested and charged with possession of a skimming device, trafficking in the counterfeit credit cards and fraudulent possession of personal identification information.

"'Operation Skimmer Sweep' was a joint operation and I want to thank all of the agencies involved for their assistance," added Sheriff Chronister. "This teamwork approach showcases the commitment we all possess to think outside the box in order to better serve everyone in our community."

The sheriff's office says the following locations were affected (some with more than one skimmer):

  • 711: 3444 W. Columbus Drive
  • Super Kwik BP: 8001 Gibsonton Drive
  • Excel Food and Gas: 6118 S. Dale Mabry Highway
  • Race Fuel/Shell: 5100 E. Adamo Drive
  • 711: 13220 US Highway 301 South
  • 711: 5125 West Cypress Street
  • Touchdown/Marathon: 19707 Bruce B. Downs Boulevard
  • 711: 8801 Memorial Highway
  • Orient Mobile: 7209 E. Hillsborough Avenue
  • Mobile Mart: 6005 Big Bend Road
  • Food and Things: 2010 N. Wheeler Street
  • Dr. King Sunoco: 6602 E. MLK Jr. BLVD.
  • 711: 1020 South Kings Avenue
  • Parsons Citgo: 503 N. Parsons Avenue
  • Bhavya Inc.: 7711 Causeway Blvd.
  • Valrico Shell: 2104 E. SR 60
  • 711: 1606 S. Parsons Avenue
  • 711: 909 S. 78th Street
  • 711: 3629 E. SR 60
  • 711: 6008 West Linebaugh Avenue
  • C and BRI Enterprise Inc.: 10016 McMullen Road