Glendale, CA

Police: Brothers ran fuel theft operation in California, filling 300-gallon tanks with stolen diesel

Golden Gate Media
Using stolen credit cards, culprits fill the bladder with fuel to sell on the black market.Photo byGlendale Police Dept.

Glendale Police Department announced a major bust in an identity theft and fuel siphoning crime spree that was being run by brothers identified as Ambartsoum and Armen Pogosian.

The investigation, which commenced in July 2022, revealed a series of gasoline thefts involving stolen credit card accounts, police said.

This led to felony identity theft charges being filed against Ambartsoum Pogosian.

In September 2023, the Tulare County Sheriff's Office reached out to officials in Glendale to share information about the continued criminal activities of the Pogosian brothers.

Authorities in Tulare County had arrested Armen Pogosian for utilizing stolen credit card accounts to purchase diesel fuel.

In their possession, authorities discovered over 225 stolen credit card accounts, cash, and a modified pick-up truck, commonly known as a "bladder truck," carrying approximately 300 gallons of stolen diesel fuel, authorities said.

Following this revelation, Glendale detectives swiftly moved into action.

On September 27, they executed a search warrant at the Pogosian brothers' residence, where they made a startling discovery.

Inside, the detectives found about 100 stolen credit card accounts, card readers/writers, a significant sum of $33,000 in cash, various identity theft materials, narcotics, and another "bladder truck," investigators said.

A bladder truck, such as the one used by the suspects, is a vehicle with a concealed large exterior tank, called a bladder.

Using stolen credit cards, culprits fill the bladder with fuel to sell on the black market.

When one credit card is depleted, they seamlessly switch to another, continuing their illegal operations and pumping gas into the bladder, police described.

The swift response by law enforcement led to the immediate arrest of both suspects, who were subsequently booked at the Glendale City Jail.

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