NEWS RELEASE 17-254
Varona-Saavedra Perez-Del Prado
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested two Miami men Wednesday for installing skimming devices at three Sarasota gas stations.
Patrol deputies were first alerted around 1:00 a.m. Wednesday morning when a citizen called the sheriff’s office about a suspicious white Chevy Camaro parked at the closed Sunoco gas station in the 4100 block of Bee Ridge Road. Deputies quickly located the vehicle as it was leaving the gas station and made contact with the driver, Michel Varona-Saavedra, DOB 10/21/99, and passenger, Yoandy Perez-Del Prado, DOB 09/10/83. During a search of the vehicle, deputies recovered two skimming devices, cordless drills, and a set of keys that gives access to gas pumps. Deputies checked the gas station and discovered two additional skimming devices installed on the pumps. Detectives interviewed Varona-Saavedra and Perez-Del Prado who were subsequently arrested for possession of the skimming devices. During the interview with Varona-Saavedra, detectives found he was also in possession of five counterfeit credit cards. As the investigation continued, detectives found additional skimming devices at two more gas stations. One device at the Citgo located at 4529 Bee Ridge Road, and the other at the 7-11 located at 6104 South Tamiami Trail. Both were in full operation at the time they were discovered.
Varona-Saavedra is charged with six counts of Possession of a Skimming Device, two counts of Offense Against a Computer Network and one count of Trafficking in Counterfeit Credit Cards. He is held at the Sarasota County Jail on $185,000 bond. Perez-Del Prado is charged with six counts of Possession of a Skimming Device and two counts of Offense Against a Computer Network. He is held at the Sarasota County Jail on $160,000 bond.
Customers who have purchased gas at these locations are encouraged to check their bank statements for any suspicious transactions, no matter how small the amount. Patrons should also remember these safety tips:
- Pay with cash inside the store when possible. If you don’t have cash, use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards have better fraud protection
- Check for signs of tampering at the pump. This includes a broken security seal over the door. If something seems out of place, notify gas station personnel.
- Monitor bank statements regularly to spot unauthorized charges. If something doesn’t add up, contact your bank immediately.