July 25, 2016
Public Information Unit, 303-441-1500
Arrest made in Superior credit card skimming case
Detectives arrested one man, and have obtained an arrest warrant for a second, after credit card skimming devices were found at the Superior Conoco gas station.
Superior, Colo. - On Wednesday, July 20th, sheriff's investigators arrested Art Arsene Appolon, 37, of Oakland, California, in connection with the credit card skimming devices that had been placed inside of pay-at-the-pump consoles at the Superior Conoco gas station. Appolon was taken into custody at the Boulder Target store after attempting to buy gift cards using stolen credit card numbers obtained through credit card skimmers. Appollon was booked and lodged at the Boulder County Jail, where he was charged with one count of felony theft and eighty counts of identity theft; both crimes are class four felonies. Appollon remains at the jail in lieu of a $1,000,000 bond. Appollon's booking photo appears below.
On July 8th, sheriff's deputies were notified that two credit card skimming devices had been located inside pay-at-the-pump consoles at the Superior Conoco during routine maintenance. The Superior Conoco is located at 191 S. McCaslin Blvd. Both of the pay-at-the-pump consoles had not been forcibly entered and it is believed the individuals who placed the skimming devices had keys to the pump consoles. In addition to the skimmers found at the Superior Conoco, two more skimming devices were located at the Louisville Conoco gas station located at 520 S. McCaslin Blvd, on July 20th.
After receiving the initial report, sheriff's investigators began working with law enforcement throughout the Denver metro area and determined that two Miami-based syndicates were involved in local credit card skimming. Skimming devices capture account holder information from a credit card when a card holder swipes their card in a compromised card-reader. The information is later downloaded from the skimming device and is cloned to a credit card often containing a suspect's embossed name, but with the victim's credit card information on the magnetic strip. The cloned credit card is then used to make fraudulent purchases.
To date, sheriff's investigators, with the assistance of Target's corporate security team, have been able to identify at least 136 victim card holders, and three to four dozen commercial businesses where the cloned credit cards have been used. The suspects used the cloned credit cards to purchase $50 and $100 gift cards at a number of Target and Walgreens stores throughout the Front Range, in addition to stores in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. As of today there have been approximately $11,000 in losses sustained, with another $11,000 in attempted thefts that were caught or stopped by the merchants or credit card processors prior to the transaction being completed.
In addition to Appolon's arrest, sheriff's investigators have obtained an arrest warrant for Anthony Armando Hernandez, 25, of Miami, Florida, for one count of felony theft and eighty counts of identity theft. Hernandez's whereabouts are currently unknown and it is believed he fled Colorado and returned to Florida. The bond on the arrest warrant for Hernandez is $1,000,000.00, and sheriff's investigators are working with Florida law enforcement to attempt to locate Hernandez. The investigation into the credit card skimming continues, and additional arrests are anticipated.
Anyone who has used a pay-at-the-pump console at these gas stations should closely scrutinize their bank and credit card statements and give strong consideration to requesting replacement credit and debit cards. If fraudulent transactions are discovered after a pay-at-the-pump purchase at these Conoco stores, a report should be filed with a deputy by contacting (303) 441-4444.
Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective Chris Fiegel at (303) 441-4763. If anyone has information but would like to remain anonymous, please contact Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit their website at www.nococrimestoppers.com. Those who provide information leading to the identification of a suspect could be eligible to receive a reward of up to $1,000.
The case number associated with this investigation is 16-3995.
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/s/ Cmdr. Mike Wagner
Public Information Officer