Pumping Gas

Thursday, January 12, 2017 06:03PM
HOUSTON (KTRK) — A woman’s debit card was used fraudulently but rather than wait for police, she investigated on her own, leading police to a suspect.

Carmen Manzo noticed her debit card missing after she got gas. When she checked her bank account this week, she noticed purchases of more than $1,600 all over town.

“I felt violated. I felt angry,” Manzo said. “Then when I saw my account had already been depleted, that really freaked me out even more.”

She filed a police report and once she realized some surveillance video could be deleted within days, she decided to investigate on her own, visiting locations her card was used.

“A lot of places basically told me they have corporate rules, regulations and they couldn’t release any video to me,” she said.

Then Manzo came across Malik Lalani at Mega Fuel in La Porte. He gave her surveillance video showing a woman buying a 24 pack of beer and taking off in a Mercedes.

“She was in a Mercedes and I was surprised,” Lalani said.

The car may have surprised him but the crime did not.

“The system has changed. Before the customer, if they wanted to use a stolen credit card, they had to hand the card to us but it’s the chip. They stick it in and they can use debit or credit,” he said.

Police often have a hard time with these crimes. It’s often a question of manpower and resources.

Carmen was able to investigate her own crime with a lot of determination and the help of Lalani.

“He didn’t have to give me the video. My faith in humanity has been restored,” she said.

Detectives have a suspect identified and are working to get an arrest warrant.