Macon woman charged in gas pump skimmer operation

Janique Shontie Crafter
Janique Shontie Crafter

A Macon woman is charged in a gas pump credit card skimming operation in which more than $60,000 was stolen from bank accounts of unsuspecting victims at fuel pumps in Alabama.

Janique Shontie Crafter, 29, was arrested in Macon on Wednesday night after the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office was called by the GBI, the Alabama State Attorney General’s Office and the Southside Police Department in Alabama about the case.

Skimmers are electronic devices that can be disguised on credit card readers to scoop information from a bank card’s magnetic strip. From there, the account information is stored or sent wirelessly to criminals waiting nearby, according to the FBI.

A rental car used in one of the skimmer incidents was traced back to Crafter, who also was identified on video surveillance at a gas station, according to a news release from the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators learned a suspect in the case was living on Wren Avenue off Anthony Road, where evidence of financial transaction card fraud forgery and identity fraud was later discovered, the news release said.

Crafter also is wanted by authorities in Etowah County, Alabama. She is charged with theft of property and identity theft, the news release said.

Crafter, who has a Hollingsworth Road address, remained in jail Friday on a bond of $5,900, records show.

The multi-agency investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected.

There’s currently no evidence that skimmers were placed on gas pumps in Macon, but “it is possible,” Bibb County sheriff’s Investigator Michael Parrot said.

“Unfortunately, there’s not a lot to look for,” Parrot warned. “At a gas pump, most of the time, the people who are actually doing this are opening up the pumps and installing the reader inside of it. It’s really just a very small device ... so you would never even see it once it’s closed up.”

Parrot said it has been a year since the sheriff’s office has found a skimmer on a Macon gas pump and “we haven’t had many cases here.”

Laura Corley: 478-744-4334, @Lauraecor