SLO County Roundup

Paso Robles

Local police have taken 16 reports from people saying their credit or debit card information was stolen after they pumped gas, officers said Wednesday.

Police believe a “skimmer” — an illegal credit card-reading device — was installed at the Arco station on Ramada Drive for about two weeks from late November to early December, Officer Ty Lewis said.

It was removed before police became aware of it, he added. Since the crimes usually aren’t reported until a victim receives their bank statement, the criminals have time to remove the devices before they are discovered Lewis said.

The skimmer was likely used to get debit and credit card numbers and pin information from customers who used a card to pay for gas at the pump.

Similar credit card reading devices were found at the Tesoro gas station at 6305 Morro Road in Atascadero in September and at the Five Cities Drive Unocal 76 gas station in Pismo Beach in April.

Lewis said such skimmers are often installed by organized-crime teams and are increasingly installed elsewhere in the state.

The devices are installed internally at gas pumps and not visible to the consumer, Lewis said.

The criminals then download card data and pin information remotely, Lewis said. Police can’t often pinpoint where the data was skimmed to until multiple reports are received and analyzed to find data patterns, he said.

— Tonya Strickland

San Luis Obispo

The City Council on Tuesday appointed Katie Lichtig as the new city manager.

The council earlier announced that she was the unanimous choice for the job.

The council was asked at Tuesday night’s meeting to approve a contract of employment with Lichtig, who is finishing out her job as assistant city manager and chief operating officer for the city of Beverly Hills.

Lichtig has been hired at a salary of $221,000. She will replace outgoing city manager Ken Hampian.

Hampian is expected to depart his position in the second week of January, and Lichtig is expected to arrive to take over her duties in the third week.

— Sally Connell

Diablo Canyon

Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s application to renew Diablo Canyon’s operating licenses for 20 additional years is available on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Web site.

The application is available for reading and download at www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/licensing/renewal/applications.html.

The NRC is reviewing the application to determine whether it has sufficient information to process.

If it is sufficient, the application will be formally filed and a public hearing set.

On Nov. 23, PG&E applied to renew the two licenses. They are set to expire on Nov. 2, 2024, and Aug. 26, 2026.

— David Sneed