Gas thieves target farms and ranches in Weld County

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WELD COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The Weld County Sheriff’s Office is warning those who live in the community that gas thieves are coming onto farm and ranch properties to steal fuel. 

“You may think it’s a low level thing filling up a tank of gas but someone depends on that for their livelihood and to do their job it’s not right,” Jow Moylan with the Weld County Sheriff’s Office said. 

According to their Facebook page: “We’re only halfway through the busy summer driving season and the Weld County Sheriff’s Office is again seeing an uptick in reports of gasoline thefts from private, unsecured fuel sites, namely on farms and ranches.

The most recent spike is likely due to the latest increase in gasoline prices. As of Friday afternoon, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Colorado was $3.51, which is higher than the national average of $3.16, according to AAA.

Fuel thieves rely on unsecured fuel sites because they are soft targets, particularly late at night, on the weekends and during holidays. To prevent this type of crime, the Weld County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging residents to consider taking the following actions:

• Secure the entrances and exits to your fuel sites.
• Install locks on your pumps.
• Shut off or disable pumps at the end of the day, or when they’re not in use.  
• Install bright lighting at fuel pumps.
• Install security or game cameras. Make sure they’ll be able to record license plates.”

FOX31 and Channel 2 met with one farmer who started taking precautions last year with his fuel tanks after they noticed fuel was missing. 

“We started locking them up. We use padlocks and shut off the electricity to them,” Russ Brucker, a local farm manager said. 

Brucker said he wants people to remember that his farm land is private property and people should consider the consequences if they trespass. 

“We work hard to get out fuel so if someone takes it that’s not nice,” Brucker said. 

Moylan said he believes gas theft is a misdemeanor charge but couldn’t clarify. 

During the 2020 Pandemic, Moylan said they saw two different spikes in gas thieves. He said the biggest contribution is because so many people were out of jobs. 

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