A Florida man got caught with way too much gas in his truck bought by way too many credit cards that weren’t his despite being hidden in his pants, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office says.
Pavel Martinez-Martinez, 40, quickly posted $45,000 bond on Thursday after his arrest the day before on charges of possession of counterfeit credit cards, unlawful conveyance of fuel, and tampering with physical evidence.
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The Lehigh Acres resident drew the attention of sheriff’s Economic Crimes Unit members after getting out of his 2002 Ford F-250 Crew Cab pickup truck at a Wawa gas station/convenience store.
Had Martinez-Martinez done numerous credit card transactions while picking up Wawa’s mac and cheese or key lime parfait, it might have gone unnoticed. But he was working many credit cards at a gas pump.
To the Economic Crimes Unit, working since 2017 on what it calls the “Cloned Wars,” this looked like part of a black market fuel/cloned credit card fraud scheme popular around Florida, especially in Miami-Dade.
Deputies stopped Martinez-Martinez after he left the Wawa. Cops say they found exactly what they expected under the covers, in the truck bed — a homemade 100-gallon gas storage tank, connected to the driver’s side with piping that wasn’t put there by the Ford Motor Company.
“Martinez was also in possession of 80 total credit cards & gift cards, which he attempted to conceal in his pants,” the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “After researching the cards, 72 of them were determined to be cloned credit cards containing unsuspecting victims credit card numbers encoded on the back magnetic strip.”
The gift cards came from Shell, Wawa, clothes seller Pink and other merchants.