Law Enforcement Targeting Oil Field Theft

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

It's a constant struggle. Thieves are hitting Permian Basin oil fields every day and local law enforcement is working to find new ways to crack down. NewsWest 9 spoke with Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter and he says oil field theft is a daily battle for deputies. 

Since the prices shot up several months ago, a huge surge of theft cases have continuously poured into their office. Now, deputies are finding higher amounts of stolen oil equipment being sold everywhere from pawn shops to parking lots. For local oil and gas companies, it may take quite a while before they even realize they've been hit.

"Every day," Midland County Sheriff, Gary Painter, said. "We get calls on stolen equipment every day. It doesn't stop. It may run for awhile, but it may take awhile before they catch on that stuff is missing and then you've got a large problem. A large report of stolen equipment."

They say catching those crooks isn't easy, but an alliance of federal, state, and local authorities is helping put a stop to oil field crime. On Wednesday night, the Big Bend Law Enforcement Association met up at the Horseshoe Arena in Midland to share intelligence, determine criminal patterns, and train officers to handle oil theft. 

Sheriff Painter told NewsWest 9, Crimestoppers has also played a huge part in helping solve the cases. They've also joined forces with the Energy Security Council, an organization tracking down the crooks after they've fled into other states.