Crude Oil Thefts On The Rise

Wednesday, April 16th 2008, 7:37 am
By: News On 6

Record high oil prices lead to a "jump at the gas pump" for motorists. The cost of gas went up about 10 cents a gallon overnight at most gas stations across eastern Oklahoma. That means most motorists are now paying at least $3.19 a gallon for regular unleaded and more for premium gasoline.

The high price of oil has caught the attention of criminals in Oklahoma.

Oil prices have been soaring for weeks now with the current price hovering around $113 per barrel. And as price of oil keeps climbing, so could the number of crimes at oil sites.

Last year, at Devon Energy, criminals stole more than 1,500 barrels of oil and natural gas. At today's prices, that amounts to more than $100,000 and an expensive problem.

A spokesperson for the Oklahoma company says it's been an ongoing and increasing battle for the past several years.

Officials say some criminals pump the oil out at night from oil containers, or tank batteries.

"As things become more valuable, people will taken advantage of that and start stealing from other people," said Greg Mashburn, Garvin County District Attorney.

Devon has taken steps to cut down on crude oil crime by installing video surveillance at their sites in Oklahoma and Texas. And it seems to be working; the company has seen a decrease in thefts this year.

Unfortunately, expensive items are always an incentive for crime and officials expect to see more cases like this one, in the future.