Oilfield Theft on the Rise In Martin County

by Diane Tuazon
NewsWest 9

MARTIN COUNTY - The Martin County Sheriff's Department says there have been more oilfield thefts compared to recent years, in fact, authorities say just last week alone there were two reported thefts.

"The last one had 100 barrels of crude oil stolen, and the first part of the week, we had theft on oil field pipes," Chief Ernest Wakefield said.

Law enforcement officials say they're not just seeing a rise in oil theft, but a wide range of other materials thieves can get their hands on to sell.

"Anything from copper wire, tools, tongs, a lot of different items. There's a market for them," Wakefield said.

Authorities say although they haven't caught any of the thieves responsible, they're working on finding a way to track them down.

"We are out in the county more now in the more rural areas, since a lot of it happens off the road and on private property," Wakefield said.