New Philadelphia, Ohio - Three men from three different states accused of placing a skimming device on a pump at a Dover Township gas station were back in court Thursday for arraignment on felony charges.
39-year-old Adrid Gamez-Ferdinand of Miami, Florida, 46-year-old Marcos Georg-San Millan of Austin, Texas, and 30-year-old Michel Olivera-Fernandez of Lousiville, Kentucky, are each charged with one count of breaking and entering and one count of unauthorized use of computer, cable or telecommunications property. Tuscarawas County Prosecutor Ryan Styer says the unauthorized use charge is fairly uncommon in Tuscarawas County.
"That was a charge we don’t use a lot but in this case, it was one that applied, tampering with the electronics of a gas pump to install a skimmer device," he says.
The men appeared in court Thursday with private attorneys and an interpreter and entered pleas of not guilty. Two of the men told Judge Elizabeth Thomakos they work as Lyft drivers, while the man from Texas said he works for Amazon.
All three men were released on their own recognizance until their next required court hearing. Styer says they didn’t have a problem with that because the men have shown up for their hearings up to this point.
"Three co-defendants all from out of state, sometimes the challenge can be just getting them to show up and appear in court, but we’ve not had that problem with these three individuals," he says.
Styer says that given the charges, it’s not likely that the men will be facing any prison time.
"The maximum prison sentence on a felony of the fifth degree is 12 months in prison, but in a case like this where none of these guys have very much of a prison record and they are felony of the fifth degree property crimes, I think that the revised code requires the judge to first put them on probation and use local jail as a sanction," he says.
Styer says the device that the men are accused of placing is still be analyzed by BCI. He says additional charges are possible depending on the results.
"We haven’t received a forensic analysis of that skimming device from BCI, so depending on what they are able to show from that device, there may be more information that develops, and I guess potentially more charges but we really can’t say until we see the analysis from the crime lab," he says.
Styer also says that while they may have their suspicions, there’s no evidence to suggest that these men were part of an organized criminal group.
STACEY CARMANY, TUSCO TV