Four charged in gas card scheme

SALINEVILLE-Four people are under arrest and being held in the county jail awaiting trial for their alleged role in the misuse of a company gas card.

Salineville Police arrested the four suspects Friday following an extensive investigation that spanned four counties and involved multiple gas stations.

Brothers Shane Harris, 31, Martin’s Ferry and Jason E. Harris, 28, Lisbon, appeared in county municipal court Monday on felony theft and misuse of credit card charges for their alleged involvement in the crime.

Preliminary hearings were set for both men for July 31. Also facing charges stemming from the gas card scheme are Rick J. Willis Jr., 24, Salineville, charged with misuse of credit card, receiving stolen property and felony theft and Brook L. Keys, 22, Lisbon, charged with receiving stolen property and fleeing.

Village Police Chief Andrew Straley said 16 other people are currently under investigation for possible involvement in the crimes. As of Tuesday, five have called him to admit their involvement and arrange for restitution with the victim, Wise Services Inc.

According to Straley, it appears the Harris brothers obtained the pin number to the Wise Services Inc. company gas card without permission while employed by the trucking company.

The suspects then allowed others to use the card at a half price discount, pocketing the remaining cash from the transaction. Charges as large as $500 at a time were made on the card.

By the time Wise Service Inc. company representatives contacted village police about the unauthorized charges last Thursday, the suspects had managed to charge about $7,500 to the gas card.

According to Straley, village police were able to pin point the suspects with help from the public and by reviewing surveillance video from local gas stations.

“The public’s cooperation was a major help,” said Straley. “We also have a great group of officers that put a lot of time into this investigation.”