Baltimore County Police charged a man Wednesday with fraudulently using credit card numbers to purchase “two large tanks” worth of diesel fuel at a Royal Farms in White Marsh.
Tyrone Gerard Uyaha Strickland, 30, was charged with five counts of felony credit card misuse after a traffic stop, according to online court records.
He was stopped by police Monday just hours after Baltimore’s Inner Harbor was paralyzed by a multi-agency investigation into a suspicious van containing 80 gallons of the fuel in a separate incident. Baltimore County police said Tuesday they were investigating a “possible” tie between the two incidents, but city police said Wednesday they have yet to find a connection.
Strickland was arrested after county police were dispatched Monday afternoon to the Royal Farms in the 10700 block of Pulaski Highway for a suspicious Dodge Sprinter van with Virginia tags. A responding officer saw the van, but it “attempted to speed away from the scene," according charging documents. An officer caught up to the van and did an investigative stop.
Strickland told police he did not have a valid driver’s license, but was working as a delivery driver for the van’s owner, Inskip Bertinio Paul, the charging document said. Strickland told police that Paul gave him eight Royal Farms gas station gift cards to purchase diesel fuel for two large containers in the rear of the van. He bought 280 gallons of fuel for each container, and was going to drive them to Paul’s home in Laurel, police said.
Paul, in an interview with police, said he rented the van to Strickland “so he could earn some money,” but denied any involvement in the fuel purchase, the charging document said. Paul told police he did not retrofit the van with the two fuel tanks, and that he hadn’t been in contact with Strickland since he rented him the van two weeks ago, the document said.
But Strickland told police he knew Paul for 20 years and in the past two weeks had been paid daily for fuel deliveries. He told police that he assumed Paul had installed the tanks in the van, the document said.
Paul has not been charged in the case, court records show. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Police obtained a search warrant for the van, and during a search Tuesday, investigators said in the charging documents that they found 68 Royal Farms gas station gift cards, 12 of which were found to be re-encoded with different card numbers. Police said in charging documents that the card numbers embossed on those 12 cards were different than the card numbers on the magnetic strip of the card and that they were found to be “re-encoded.”
Often, credit card numbers are gleamed from a skimming device or become known to a thief, and the stolen card numbers can then be re-encoded to another card with a magnetic strip.
County detectives were able to see that five of the 12 re-encoded cards had numbers that were connected to Wells Fargo bank accounts. Bank officials were notified and those bank accounts were placed on a hold, the document said.
Officers also recovered 17 Royal Farms gifts cards that were not activated yet and 39 gift cards that had unknown balances.