mobile gas station skimmers

Credit Card Skimming Suspect Flees, Runs Over Detectives Foot

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. – A Tampa man, who ran over a Pinellas County deputy’s foot as he attempted to escape a traffic stop, is believed to be involved in credit card skimming at gas stations.

In a state case against Alejandro Crespo from Tampa, Detective Cindy Kakalow warned in an ‘Affidavit of Search Warrant’, that skimming conspiracies are benefiting from consumers inserting credit or debit cards at the fuel pump. She also indicated that such operations have become more sophisticated. 

Driving a black Cadillac Escalade, Crespo was stopped on September 2nd, 2020, in Seminole by Deputies Chris Cook and A. Rill, for a bike rack obstructing his license plate.

According to the filing documents, when Cook introduced himself, Crespo tried to hide credit card skimming devices in his pants. He then failed to follow verbal orders and fled the scene, running over Rill’s foot in the process. Near the Pinellas Park campus of St. Petersburg College, the deputies successfully deployed stop sticks, deflating tires during high-speed chases, and arrested Crespo.

Crespo was charged with possession of burglary tools, possession of a scanning/skimming device, aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer, and fleeing and eluding a police officer.

Detective Kakalow and another detective who came to the scene noted there were two credit card skimming devices and related tools in the Escalade, but they also found keys that were known to be used for access to fuel pumps. Shortly thereafter, an area fuel pump search of “molested security tape” discovered that one of Crespo’s keys fit the security hole of several pumps located at the Mobil gas station operating at 5390 Duhme Road. But two more skimmers were also discovered, and they were nearly identical to those in Crespo’s possession. 

Detective Kakalow also explained in the case’s Affidavit of Search Warrant that credit card skimmers typically use large vehicles, such as Escalades, to purposely obstruct eyewitness and surveillance camera views while implanting devices. She also warned that the Tampa Bay area is experiencing dramatic increases in criminal activity and is associated with criminal conspiracies operating throughout Florida and the Southeast. She stated that Crespo has also been investigated in Tennessee and has other legal issues involving identity theft and dealing in contraband of personal identification information.   

On September 9, Crespo pleaded “not guilty” through his attorney after previously posting bail. His attorney is Ralph Fernandez of Fernandez and Alvarez, Tampa. An inquiry about the case was submitted to Fernandez, but there has been no reply. 

Corporal Chuck Skipper in the Public Information Office of the Pinellas County Sheriff responded to a request for information about Crespo’s known occupation, but replied, “No occupation is listed in our reports.”

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