WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — The reported theft of hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel from an Electra service station reveals a possible serious security flaw in some fuel pumps, at a time when fuel is at record prices.

Quintero

DPS troopers arrested a Florida man for alleged unlawful use of a criminal instrument and violation of motor fuel tax requirements.

According to the arrest warrant, in April 2022, Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers were notified of fuel thefts at the Express Service Station in Electra. A witness reported seeing a white Ford truck towing a U-Haul trailer steal diesel fuel. The witness believed the driver had a storage tank in the trailer. The trooper located the suspect traveling south on US 287 and stopped him for an expired registration.

The driver was identified as Yander Alvarez Quintero of Florida. Quintero told the trooper he was moving to Texas from Colorado and the trailer was full of boxes. The trooper saw an auxiliary tank and a pump in the bed of the truck and asked to search the trailer. Quintero declined.

The truck and trailer were seized as evidence. During the investigation it was discovered the trailer contained a large bulk container full of diesel fuel, approximately 545 gallons.

In the bed of the truck, troopers found bags of tools, an auxiliary tank, an electric fuel meter and a long hose with a fuel nozzle attached. Inside the truck they found a black remote control and a red fuel meter. When asked about the fuel, Quintero said it was purchased in Colorado.

One of the store managers said the suspects stole fuel on three different occasions and approximately 1200 gallons was taken. He said he believed the suspects were using a remote to activate the pumps.

Surveillance footage from the store showed two trucks taking fuel between April 3 and April 9. The victim said their diesel pumps come with remote controls from the manufacturer with two sets of preset codes. He said he did not know the codes were the same for all the pumps from the manufacturer.

The victim said they changed to the second set of preset codes, but the thieves were still able to pump fuel. They changed the codes again, this time preventing the theft.

The victim said only pump technicians and owners are supposed to have access to the remotes, however, they found one for sale online.

The trooper noted he believes Quintero has an accomplice that was driving the other truck and said this type of activity is common in  fuel theft.

A search of Quintero’s record discovered he does not have a fuel permit or fuel transporter permit, meaning he was transporting and delivering fuel without paying for the permits.

A warrant was issued, and Quintero was arrested on Nov. 15, 2022. He is charged with two counts of Unlicensed Use of a Criminal Instrument, two counts of Violation of Motor Fuel Tax Requirements, and Theft of Property over $2,500 and under $30K. His bond was set at 107,500 by a judge.