Suspects in credit card fraud arrested

Published 5:39 pm Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Franklin Police have three people in custody on charges related to credit card theft, according to Capt. Tim Whitt, spokesman for the city police department.

In a press release issued Tuesday afternoon, Whitt stated, “Beginning on July 4 and continuing for several days after, Franklin Police were inundated with reports from victims stating that their credit card information had been fraudulently obtained and used at multiple locations in Franklin, as well as in other cities. Investigators determined that the credit cards were compromised from a gas pump at a local gas station [Duck-Thru on Hunterdale Road]. The business was alerted to the fraudulent activity and agreed to assist police.”

On Monday, the management discovered a credit card skimming device had been put on one of the gas pumps, and notified detectives, who responded and removed the device. Reviewing video surveillance footage led to identifying a vehicle that could have contained suspects.

That evening, Whitt said, “detectives conducted surveillance on the business, and at 12:35 a.m. they observed the same vehicle as in the video pull up to the pump where the credit card skimmer was found. Two suspects got out of the car, police then moved in.”

He added that once the suspects saw the authorities, they attempted to flee the scene, but were quickly stopped and arrested without incident.

Learning that the suspects had rented a room at a local motel, search warrants were obtained. This led to finding more evidence of criminal activity and also arresting another person in the room.

The trio was formally charged and remanded to Western Tidewater Regional Jail without bond.

The trio was formally charged with credit card theft, conspiracy to commit credit card theft, unlawful use of a credit card scanning or re-encoding device, and remanded to Western Tidewater Regional Jail without bond.

They are: Miguel Matos-Gamez, 54, of 3713 Richmond St., Lansing, Michigan; Michel Ariel Matos Gutierrez, 27, of 1212 E. Ida St., Tampa, Florida; and Viridiana Lopez-Palacios, 27, homeless.