[PHOTO CREDIT: iStock / Karimala]
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[Original Publish Date: 10/13/19]
FRUITLAND PARK, Florida – Two “nervous and suspicious” Miami men were caught with bolt cutters and an apparent credit card skimming device outside a closed Fruitland Park gas station on Friday. Michel Serrano, 29, with a “Miami Gardens” listed address and Ramon G. Ibarra, 47, with a “North Miami Beach” listed address, were both taken to the Lake County Jail and charged with a host of crimes involving possession of burglary tools, identity theft, and ‘use of a scam skim device to defraud’ (among other charges).
According to arrest records, law enforcement officers were “proactively patrolling the area of 4075 Piccola Rd, Fruitland Park” when a black Chevrolet SUV at a closed gas station was spotted having a tag which should have been on a black Hyundi passenger car. Contact was made with Serrano and Ibarra, according to police, as the men were “standing in between the [SUV] and gas pump. Upon exiting our [patrol] vehicle the Hispanic male began to walk around the vehicle in a suspicious manner and acting like he was attempting to pump gas. It should be noted that the gas station was currently closed at that time and the gas pumps were not in operation”, the arrest affidavit states.
A deputy detained Serrano and Ibarra and “then walked over to the gas pump and I located the door to the electrical panal (sic) of the gas pump to be open and the lock to be missing. Due to my training and experience I ha[d] reasonable suspicion the defendant’s (sic) were attempting to or had placed a credit card skimming device on the gas pump”, the report states.
A vehicle inventory revealed bolt cutters and the gas pump’s cut lock, along with “what appeared to be a credit card skimming device. Also in the vehicle was multiple phones and a small tablet computer with the address to the incident location on the [GPS] application on the phone”, the affidavit states.
Both Serrano and Ibarra were booked into the Lake County jail on identical charges, and each arranged their release on $13,000 bond.
James Hope is a Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer who has been practicing criminal law in Tavares, Florida, since 1987. He has also been the Publisher and Executive Editor of Lake Legal News since 2009. He may be contacted at LakeLegalNews@gmail.com, or through his website at www.AttorneyJamesHope.com. [PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Whicher]