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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Man arrested in Ocala after allegedly stealing over 150 gallons of fuel from 7-Eleven

A 46-year-old man was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office after he was accused of stealing over 150 gallons of fuel from a 7-Eleven in Ocala.

On Monday, November 21, an MCSO Property Crimes detective responded to the 7-Eleven located at 5670 SW College Road in Ocala in reference to a theft. Upon arrival, the detective made contact with an MCSO deputy who advised that a male suspect, identified as Michel Castillo Gelis, was detained in a patrol vehicle.

Michel Castillo Gelis
Michel Castillo Gelis

A 7-Eleven corporate investigator had notified MCSO that a white box truck was in the process of utilizing a device to steal fuel from one of the pumps, according to the MCSO report. When the deputy arrived at the gas station, contact was made with Gelis who was standing next to a 2004 white box truck.

According to the deputy, Gelis appeared to be “very nervous.” The 7-Eleven investigator had informed MCSO that Gelis was at the pump for “about 20 minutes” fueling the box truck, though the fuel pump only stated that a total of 2.12 gallons had been dispensed during that time. The price for the 2.12 gallons of fuel was $10.54.

The 7-Eleven investigator informed the deputy that suspects will use key fobs to activate devices to alter the fuel pump. When the deputy searched Gelis, a key fob, which was later revealed to be a skimming device, was found in the front pocket of a leather jacket that Gelis was wearing, according to the MCSO report.

The detective noted in the MCSO report that the white box truck driven by Gelis did not use a key fob.

When the fuel pump was later opened by a 7-Eleven employee, a skimming device was found inside the pump. The detective noted in the report that this device “altered the fuel gauge to make it seem as though fuel was pumping out slowly, when in reality the fuel pump was pumping out at normal speed.” This caused the price of the gas to be “significantly lower” than it should have been.

The deputy pressed the key fob that was found in Gelis’ jacket and discovered that it activated the device inside the fuel pump. While at the incident location, the detective was shown a demonstration of the key fob that was found in Gelis’ possession and noted in the report that it activated the device that was found inside the fuel pump.

The detective made contact with the 7-Eleven investigator over the phone and was informed that Gelis had obtained 135.37 gallons of gas while at the pump, not 2.12 gallons. The MCSO report stated that the total loss for 7-Eleven was approximately $668.

In the MCSO report, the detective noted that Gelis’ box truck was unique because it had two large fuel pumps under the driver’s side and passenger’s side of the vehicle, and there was also a switch in the back of the vehicle that activated those fuel pumps. The detective observed that the box truck could obtain “much more fuel than its own fuel tank.”

Gelis primarily spoke Spanish, and a Spanish-speaking MCSO detective made contact with Gelis over the phone. After being read his Miranda rights, Gelis claimed that the jacket he was wearing did not belong to him. He also denied any knowledge of the key fob that was found inside the jacket.

During the interview, Gelis told the detective that he did not look at the price at the pump when he was fueling the box truck. He further claimed that he had borrowed the box truck from someone named “Carlos” in Miami, though the MCSO report indicated that no other information was provided regarding this individual.

Gelis was arrested, transported to Marion County Jail, and he was later released on $36,000 bond. He is facing felony charges for possessing, selling, or delivering a skimming device and swindling with intent to defraud, along with a misdemeanor charge for first degree petit theft (over $100 but less than $750).

A court date has been scheduled on Tuesday, December 27 at 9 a.m., according to jail records.