Florida couple allegedly stole hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel

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A Miami area couple was arrested Wednesday for allegedly stealing hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel, authorities said. 

Lee County sheriff’s deputies responded to a 7-Eleven gas station in Bonita Springs after asset protection reported “suspicious activity” at one of the pumps.

L-R: Edson Escalona and Tanilexis Tortolo.

L-R: Edson Escalona and Tanilexis Tortolo. (Lee County Sheriff’s Office)

Deputies arrived and observed Edson Escalona, 35, and Tanilexis Tortolo, 43, at a pump putting gas into an external gas tank. 

Employees and asset protection told the deputies that a tractor-trailer had arrived at a pump and purchased 15 gallons of diesel fuel, but physically pumped 200 gallons. Minutes later, a black pickup truck arrived at the same pump and paid for six gallons, but physically pumped 150 gallons. After that, a silver truck arrived and pumped 98 gallons – despite paying for roughly six gallons of fuel.

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Investigators with the South District Criminal Investigations Division determined that Escalona and Tortolo had collaborated to manipulate the pump with theft devices. 

The devices and their truck were taken as evidence and the couple, from Hialeah, Florida, were charged with obtaining fuel by fraudulent means.

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“This couple thought they could travel to Lee County and steal hundreds of gallons of fuel,” Sheriff Carmine Marceno said in a statement. “On average, fuel is $4.05 per gallon and businesses cannot afford to suffer this loss.”