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The discovery of skimming devices at two Boulder County gas stations have led to one arrest, but investigators believe there are many more victims who have yet to learn their cards have been compromised.
Boulder sheriff’s office investigators arrested 37-year-old Art Appolon at the Boulder Target, on one count of Felony Theft and 80 counts of identity theft, after the store caught him trying to buy gift cards with cloned credit cards linked to skimming devices found at two area Conoco stations.
The two stations are less than a mile apart on McCaslin Blvd. The first devices were discovered at the Conoco at 191 S. McCaslin Blvd in Superior. That led to the discovery of more skimmers at the Conoco at 520 S. McCaslin Blvd in Louisville.
Though skimmers are nothing new, the technology, which often includes devices placed on the outside of machines, is getting harder to detect. In this case the skimmers were hidden away where only employees could find them.
“Somehow (the thieves) were able to access keys to the gas pumps,” said Division Chief Heidi Prentup with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office. “They were able to open up the gas pumps and put the skimmers on the inside, so victims wouldn’t have even known that it happened.”
There have been 136 card holders identified thus far, but that is likely just a fraction of the people impacted. Investigaors don’t know exactly how long the skimmers were in place before they were discovered.
In addition to the one arrest they made, there is an arrest warrant for Anthony Armando Hernandez, 25, of Miami, Florida, who is also believed to be involved. He is wanted for one count of felony theft and eighty counts of identity theft, but has likely fled the state.
“It looks like these people are traveling across the United States doing this and it’s definitely organized,” Prentup said. “There is potentially a lot more victims out there.”
If you are looking to avoid skimmers at a gas station there a few things to keep in mind.
You can always decide to pay inside
It’s a good idea to use the pumps closest to the door
In most cases, including this one, the skimmers were placed on the pumps furthest away from the door, so the thieves could avoid being seen.