The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced Wednesday that the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement (OALE) arrested a suspect involved in organized fuel theft activities, connecting him to a series of eight fuel theft cases across central Florida.
Harold Blanco, 28, was taken into custody after a joint operation by the OALE and Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.
“I am proud of the exceptional teamwork displayed by the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement and the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office in apprehending this suspect, who is linked to a spree of retail fuel thefts across central Florida,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson. “We will continue to work collaboratively with our law enforcement partners and fuel retailers to combat these organized criminal activities that hurt Florida’s consumers and businesses.”
The OALE’s investigation began when a RaceTrac fuel station located in Kissimmee, Florida, reported significant losses due to fuel theft.
After extensive surveillance and analysis, Harold Blanco was identified as a probable suspect in the case.
OALE investigators were then alerted to Blanco’s presence at the same RaceTrac fuel station. Through electronic surveillance, Blanco was observed tampering with the fuel pulser dispenser to steal fuel. Upon attempting to initiate contact, Blanco fled in his vehicle.
After a brief chase, Harold Blanco was apprehended.
As a result of this arrest, Blanco faces more than 30 criminal charges, including multiple felony charges, from both the OALE and OCSO.
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The charges include obtaining fuel fraudulently (F.S. 316.80(2), Felony 2), unauthorized access to an electronic device (F.S. 815.06(3)(b)(2), Felony 2), unlawful conveyance of fuel (F.S. 316.80(1), Felony 3), criminal mischief (interruption or impairment to a business) (F.S. 806.13(1)(b)(3), Felony 3), and organized scheme to defraud (F.S. 817.034 (4)(a)(3), Felony 3).
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