BSO deputies bust accused fuel theft ring in Broward County

2 men face charges

By Terrell Forney - Reporter

COOPER CITY, Fla. - A fuel theft ring operating in Broward County was using two work trucks to help pull off their heist, authorities said.

"It looks like a regular work truck -- buckets, generator, tool boxes," Broward Sheriff's Office Detective Ryan Zimber said. 

But to a trained eye, like Zimber's, it was obvious the vehicles were not what they seemed.

"When you look at this, you'll think it's a tool box and then when you open it up, you see it's all sealed. You see it's all soldered and customized just to hold the fuel," Zimber said. 

More than 100 gallons of fuel were discovered hidden in one of the trucks, authorities said.

Investigators arrested the driver, Yasser Rivera, 35, on charges of unlawful conveyance of fuel, grand theft and 61 counts of having and making counterfeit credit cards, which were also hidden in the truck, authorities said.

"He had them actually in this sock," Zimber said. "Several of the credit cards, they were shoved in here and they were sitting in the center console, kind of hidden."

Rivera appeared in bond court Wednesday morning, where a judge ordered him to be held on a $61,000 bond.

Prosecutors said he was out on probation for a prior drug conviction at the time of his arrest.

Hugo Leyva, 46, was also arrested.

Deputies said he was operating a truck when deputies rolled up Tuesday to a Sunoco gas station off Griffin Road and Flamingo Road in Cooper City thanks to the eyes of an alert cashier.

"She noticed people pumping a lot of gas," Zimber said. "They use several different credit cards, usually with stolen information re-encoded. She witnessed them do that, and at that point, she called 911."

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