Two men arrested for stealing diesel fuel from gas stationBy Emily Beckett Published 6:04pm Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Two Florida men were arrested by Clanton police officers March 8 for stealing diesel fuel from a gas station in Chilton County.
Luis Gastavo Quesada, 49, of Hollywood, Fla., and Ariel Cabrera, 43, of Miami, were arrested at 5:05 a.m. on charges of theft of property in the second degree, a felony, according to a Clanton Police Department press release.
Quesada and Cabrera were placed in the Chilton County Jail on a $5,000 bond.
Both men have since made bond and released from jail.
Gastavo and Cabrera are truck drivers that were using a homemade device to bypass the diesel fuel pumps in order to steal thousands of gallons of diesel fuel, the release said.
“One truck would pull up next to the other and block its view from a camera or the clerk and gain access to the pump computer through a homemade device,” Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell said. “This device would slow the pump counter down.”
Long-haul truck drivers are given a set amount of money for a trip, which is intended to cover their pay and expenses, Stilwell explained. So, stealing fuel would allow them to keep more of the money they were given for the trip.
At about 1 a.m. March 8, Quesada and Cabrera pulled up to the pumps at The Store, located on Seventh Street South, and began to pump fuel into their trucks.
“The Store has been missing fuel for some time and was working with CPD, with CPD detectives even conducting surveillance,” Stilwell said. “The clerk on duty at The Store knew about the prior theft and recognized the trucks.”
CPD Detective Whitney Ray said the store clerk went above and beyond to protect The Store and report the theft. The truck drivers were able to pump 473 gallons of diesel fuel while only paying for 98.571 gallons of fuel, a theft of $1,441.17.
CPD patrol officers located the trucks at Love’s Travel Stop, where they were allegedly going to fuel up the other truck with the same method, the release said.
CPD detectives worked throughout the night and most of the day Saturday executing a search warrant on both trucks and located the homemade device and a remote control.
“We have been working with The Store for some time in an effort to catch these thieves,” Stilwell said. “I am proud of the clerk and her due diligence and the efforts of our officers and detectives in making these arrests.”
According to the release, Ray has sent out a law enforcement bulletin to other agencies that may have similar thefts.
“We believe this is happening all along their route, which is from Miami to Washington State,” Ray said.
The exact amount of diesel fuel that has been stolen over the past year is unknown, but CPD estimates it to be tens of thousands of gallons of fuel, the release said.
More charges for Quesada and Cabrera could be forthcoming.
Quesada’s and Cabrera’s trucks were hauling melons and orange juice.
Any other possible victims or anyone who may have any information about this case can contact Detective Whitney Ray at (205) 755-1194.