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September 09, 2020

Alleged thieves use fake credit cards to steal 7,000 gallons of fuel from Wawas, Pa. attorney general says

Investigations Thefts
wawa diesel fuel theft Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

Between August and November 2019, investigators allege three men stole 7,000 gallons of diesel from Pennsylvania Wawa using fake credit cards containing personal information of 44 people.

Three men have been charged with stealing $20,000 in diesel from Wawa gas stations, paying for the fuel with stolen credit cards and hauling it away in specially equipped pickup trucks, authorities said.

According to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, the alleged scheme netted the defendants 7,000 gallons of the diesel between August and November 2019, which was then sold to third parties. The fuel was paid for at the pumps using any one of 44 stolen credit cards, investigators said.

Two of the men charged are from Philadelphia: Juan Zeledon-Urena, 42, Jose Varela-Mata, 35. The third defendant Paulo Pena, 43, is from Bound Brook, New Jersey. All three are charged with operating a corrupt organizations, identity theft and related offenses.

After allegedly initiating the purchases with the counterfeit credit cards, the diesel was pumped into bladders that had been installed in the beds of pickup trucks to be transported, investigators said.

The fuel was allegedly stolen from Wawa locations in Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery and Delaware counties.

"These defendants stole dozens of innocent consumers' identities and drove off with thousands of gallons of diesel fuel," Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. "Thanks to physical and video surveillance, and Wawa's cooperation, we were able to arrest these individuals and put an end to this scheme."

Wawa did not immediately respond for comment.

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