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I-Team: Gas theft investigation in the Poconos

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BLAKESLEE, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A warning Tuesday for fuel service stations in the Poconos. Be alert for fuel thieves and state troopers say these aren’t your run of the mill fuel thieves.

State police say these thefts could be part of a large group stealing fuel in our region— specifically here in the Poconos.

“I’m kind of worried about this but since four years I’ve never experienced that kind of thing at my gas station,” said Srijan Adhikari, manager at Choice Exxon in Blakeslee.

That’s what Eyewitness News heard from the owners of gas stations in the Poconos Tuesday. Adhikari Manages the Exxon Station at Blakeslee Coroners. He’s heard about the theft of fuel from service stations in the region.

State Troopers say the Weis Gas and Go Fuel Center was targeted five times in recent months. In July Trooper’s say 24-year-old Ricky Cobo Perez from Miami, Florida used 16 fraudulent credit cards to steal nearly $1,600 dollars worth of gasoline and diesel.

Investigators say he put the fuel into a modified truck that contained two custom-made fuel tanks that spanned the length of the utility bed of the truck. Troopers believe Perez is involved with a large group that has been using stolen credit cards to purchase fuel.

State Police also arrested 52-year-old Rawle Ramsay from East Stroudsburg for allegedly using fraudulent credit cards and gift cards to purchase nearly $1,000 of fuel at the same Weis Gas N Go. Troopers say his vehicle also had a special fuel tank in the bed of his truck.

Weis officials issued a statement to Eyewitness News which reads in part:

When we were made aware of the fraudulent credit card transaction at our Brodheadsville store’s fuel center, we cooperated fully with the PA State Police and provided them with evidence to help them in their investigation. It is also important to note that none of the illegally obtained credit card numbers, in this case, were obtained from a Weis Markets store or fuel center.

Denis Curtin, Director of Publiv Relations, Weis Market

Adhikari says the crimes have him on high alert, “If anything suspicious happens I definitely would call 911 and my best possible way to solve the cases…I don’t want anyone to be a victim.”

Service station owners tell Eyewitness News they take a big financial hit when stolen credit cards are used to purchase fuel. This investigation is ongoing.

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