New invention aims to alert for skimmers at Cape gas stations

A new invention could soon make a trip to the gas station safer.

Chris Gilpin, CEO of Signal Vault invented Gas Pump Sentry, an alarm invented to let clerks know when criminals are at the gas pumps.

“They’ve been able to get easy access to these pumps and that’s why we’ve seen this crime really explode,” Gilpin said.

While Gilpin disagrees, Cape city council voted Monday to move forward with a new ordinance that would require gas stations to put a special lock on their pumps, or they would face a fine.

“We’re hopeful that this is going to be a step in the right direction for us,” said Lt. Dana Coston, a spokesperson for the Cape Coral Police Department.

The number of gas skimmers found in Florida at gas pumps nearly tripled in 2017, with 16 skimmers found in the last 13 months, according to the Cape Coral Police Department.

Fort Myers resident Billy Huckaby said he noticed some of the increased security measures taken at various gas stations.

“I go to places like Sam’s where they have tenants watching over the pumps,” Huckaby said.

In order to to get Gas Pump Centry in Cape Coral pumps, Gilpin would have to go through a procurement process.

“We are not going to select vendors or provide monetary support to the private gas station, according to a statement from Connie Barron, a spokepserson for the city. “They can choose whichever technology they want.”

Gilpin said it wouldn’t be a permanent solution.

“I feel like this is just another band aid on a huge problem,” Gilpin said.

The inventor said instillation costs between $100 to $250, but it’s also dependent on the amount of pumps at a gas station. Gas stations would also pay a monthly monitoring fee ranging from $50 to $100.

For more information on Gas Pump Sentry, visit the website.

MORE: Cape Coral passes ordinance to crack down on gas skimmers

Reporter:Brooke Shafer
Writer:Rachel Ravina