31 skimmers removed from Hillsborough County gas pumps

Hillsborough County

HCSO

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – During a three-day operation Hillsborough County detectives were able to remove over 30 skimmers found across the county.

Over the course of Sept. 14-16, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Agriculture, and the Tampa Police Department were able to remove 31 skimmers found at over 400 gas stations in the county as part of “Operation Skimmer Sweep.”

“Our detectives are proactively taking steps to protect the citizens and those visiting us here in Hillsborough County,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “At this time, we do not believe anybody’s personal information was compromised. If you believe you may have been compromised, I urge you to call our non-emergency number at (813) 247-8200 or you can even file a report online using our online reporting system found at www.teamhcso.com.”

The 31 skimmers impounded were sent to HCSO’s Evidence Section. Fingerprints found on the skimmers will be used for possible suspect identification.

At least one suspect has already been positively identified as a result of “Operation Skimmer Sweep.” Lester Echemendia Tapia, 41, was arrested and charged with possession of a skimming device, trafficking in counterfeit credit cards, and fraudulent possession of personal identification information.

“‘Operation Skimmer Sweep’ was a joint operation and I want to thank all of the agencies involved for their assistance,” added Sheriff Chronister. “This teamwork approach showcases the commitment we all possess to think outside the box in order to better serve everyone in our community.”

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