Police try to map thefts

By Kelly Ducote, The Observer January 22, 2014 11:37 am

Victims, information sought in widespread diesel thefts around Eastern Oregon

Victims of diesel fuel thefts in Central and Eastern Oregon are helping Oregon State Police map out where thefts occurred from May 2012 to January of this year.

The OSP continue to seek information and possible victims related to the thefts, which OSP officials believe likely occurred in remote and rural areas including Crook, Jefferson, Wheeler, Grant, Morrow, Gilliam, Umatilla, Union, Harney, Malheur, Wallowa, Deschutes, Wasco, Sherman and Hood River counties.

“Stuff has started pouring in,” said Sgt. Tim Brown. “We’ve developed some suspects that we know have traveled the state.”

Now, Brown said, they are trying to map the locations of victims to see if the thefts correlate with when OSP investigators know the suspects were in the area.

“These fuel thieves were probably targeting heavy equipment,” Brown said, noting that Oregon Department of Transportation loggers were a target. “Anything that’s running diesel in these big tanks.”

The investigation to this point indicates that fixed fuel storage containers ranging from 50 to more than 1,000 gallons were targets in the thefts. Brown noted farm equipment also may have been a target.

“They probably weren’t somebody who walked up with a gas can,” Brown said.

Thus far they are looking at upwards of 500-plus gallons of stolen diesel, the sergeant said. Brown was not sure whether any reports of stolen fuel had come from Union County.

“In terms of what our fuel prices are now, that’s just phenomenal,” he said.

Contact Kelly Ducote at 541-786-4230 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Follow Kelly on Twitter @lgoDucote.