CITY OF KATY (Covering Katy News) - Four gas pump credit car skimming suspects were arrested by Katy Police on Friday. The arrests are in addition to one arrest that was made earlier this week after a skimming device was found on a pump at the Shell station on Avenue D at Franz Road.
Thieves are attaching credit card skimmers to gas pumps. The devices allow criminals to steal credit card numbers and other vital information.
On Friday, Katy Police made their first arrest in the morning near the HEB grocery store at 25675 Nelson Way.
“An officer was on patrol,” Katy Police Detective Efrain Salazar said. “He saw (suspicious) transactions and took action.”
The three other arrests were made later Friday by the Katy Police.
Katy P.D. is using technology that provides them with an alert when thieves attempt to attach skimming devices to gas pumps. The alert happens so quickly that it's possible to arrest the thief before he finishes installing the skimmer.
Salazar said the new covert equipment is designed to “put the dampers on these guys and girls.”
Katy Police Chief Noe Diaz said the skimmer problem is a national one.
“It’s everywhere,” Diaz said.
Because the skimmer situation is a national one, police have been working with the state comptroller’s office, and other state and federal agencies, to pursue the cases.
Salazar said police are also working with gas station personnel and managers to address the problem.
“We’re trying to educate them as to what to see, what to look for, and so forth,” Salazar said.
Citizens who suspect suspicious activity are encouraged to contact the Katy Police Department.
It can be very difficult to tell when a pump has a skimmer installed.
“Usually, you can’t tell,” Diaz said. “They remove the scanner, and replace it with their own. It still functions, and it captures your data.”
Diaz said police are continuing to work to arrest more thieves and make it harder for them to operate in Katy.
“Public safety is important, and this is among our top priorities for the police department, to capture these folks, so people can feel free to use their cards and purchase fuel,” Diaz said. “We are taking action.”