Hub City gas station fights back against card skimmers

Alarms being placed in gas pumps in Hattiesburg. Source: WDAM
Alarms being placed in gas pumps in Hattiesburg. Source: WDAM
Published: Feb. 20, 2017 at 6:38 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 26, 2018 at 4:26 PM CST
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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - One Hub City gas station is taking a proactive approach to fighting the war on card skimmers.

Multiple card skimming devices have been found in and around the Hub City, and the Shell Station at 3809 Hardy Street has installed their own crime fighting system.

Owners have installed burglar alarms on the pumps, so if they are opened, it triggers an alarm.

"We're coming up with a concept to make the pumps set off an alarm to call police departments if the doors are open and somebody tries to put a skimmer on the pumps," said Chris McCreary, American Fire & Safety Company alarm specialist.

McCreary said he and the owner were sharing a cup of coffee one night and came up with the plan to arm the pumps like a regular house.

"Skimmers affect everybody, I mean it affects you, it affects the gas pumps, people don't want to use the gas pumps because of skimmers on there," said McCreary.

New pumps at the Shell Station cost just shy of $20,000, and with people not paying at the pumps, and pre-paying inside, business is being affected according to store officials.

"So this is the best way we could come up with, to where if somebody tries to put one it will set off and notify the police department with our alarm company," said McCreary. "The alarm is tied directly into the store for a separate alarm panel that strictly mans all the pumps, separate from the store's alarm."

So far in the multiple reports of skimmers in and around the Hub City, from Perry to Lamar counties, no arrests have been made, and the FBI Task Force has also joined in the investigation.

Store owners said this is just one way they are going above and beyond to protect their customers and keep their business going.

"Hopefully if someone does try to put a skimmer on it, the alarm will set and an officer will be close by and they can spot who is doing it and catch them," said McCreary. "They're set all the time, so it doesn't matter, 24 hours a day, you know you open that pump door you're going to get an alarm."

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