Chicago man charged with ID theft after buying $1,000 worth of gas near Gurnee

  • Ernesto Fallat

    Ernesto Fallat

Updated 9/3/2021 5:27 PM

A 52-year-old Chicago man has been charged with identity theft and other crimes after police said he purchased around $1,000 worth of diesel fuel from a gas station near Gurnee using other people's credit card information.

Ernesto Fallat, of the 1100 block of North Monticello Avenue in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood, is charged with identity theft, attempting to flee or elude police as well as several traffic violations, authorities said Friday.


Lake County sheriff's Lt. Christopher Covelli said Fallat drove his Isuzu box truck to a gas station on the 36700 block of North Route 41 in unincorporated Lake County near Gurnee about 11:30 a.m. Thursday. Covelli said an employee at the gas station noticed that Fallat used two separate credit cards to put about $1,000 worth of diesel fuel into the truck. The employee called 911 and began following the box truck in another vehicle.

Sheriff's officers spotted the truck near Delany Road and Sunset Avenue in Gurnee and turned on their emergency lights to pull Fallat over, Covelli said.

Fallat did not stop initially, and police said he threw a bag out of the window. Eventually, Fallat stopped and officers arrested him for numerous traffic violations, Covelli said.

Police recovered the bag they believe Fallat threw from the window and said it contained dozens of gift cards with a magnetic strip, which were likely fraudulently reprogrammed with the credit card information of other people, Covelli said.

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Police also found several containers filled with about 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel in Fallat's truck. Covelli said the system was made in such a way so Fallat would look like he was filling up his truck's tank with diesel, but the fuel would go directly to the containers inside the truck.

Covelli said sheriff's detectives are trying to identify potential victims who had their credit card data stolen and fraudulently used. The Illinois State Police will conduct an inspection of the truck to determine if there are hazardous material violations, he said.

Fallat remained at Lake County jail Friday afternoon pending a bond hearing.

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