Residents in Murrayville are being asked to be on the lookout after a rash of gasoline thefts in the village.
According to the Murrayville-Woodson Police Department, a large number of thefts of gasoline have been reported in Murrayville recently. Murrayville-Woodson Police Chief Derick Suttles says the police department is asking residents to keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
“Like somebody that you wouldn’t normally see in your area. Being a small community I think most of our residents pretty well know who comes and goes. So if you see somebody suspicious definitely document it and call local authorities and maybe have them checked out and see what they are up to.
Obviously late at night, people walking around carrying any kind of a gas can or any kind of container that they may be able to siphon gas into would certainly be suspicious.” Suttles says you should pay attention to anyone who seems suspicious during daylight hours as well, in that they may be scouting out a location to come back to after dark.
He says currently the calls of gasoline thefts have been concentrated in Murrayville. “I have not had any in Woodson yet that have been reported. And we have not had any in the county, as I’m a full-time Deputy I have not taken any calls in the county, and I don’t think we have as a department at the county either.
However, I think the reason we are seeing more in Murrayville is because when this started, we had a couple three get noticed overnight. One left a gas cap open which led the vehicle owner to believe that something strange had happened so they checked and they were short gas. The word started traveling, so more people started to look and notice. Whereas maybe Woodson, or Chapin or all these other towns maybe no one has noticed it yet and it’s going on, it just hasn’t come to light and nobody’s talking about it yet.”
Suttles says recently a truck owner in Murrayville reported losing between 10 and 15 gallons of gas overnight, but for the most part, most people won’t even realize they have been hit.
“I’m guessing we’re going to start seeing it in other areas too if we’re not already. I mean, obviously, these folks are siphoning the gas out of tanks, so maybe if you don’t pay close attention to your gas tank and they’re only getting a couple of gallons at a time you may not even notice it.”
The Murrayville-Woodson Police Department is asking residents who have cameras on their property to review them and report any suspicious activity to West Central Joint Dispatch.
Suttles says even something as simple as an inexpensive trail camera can be effective in helping to catch someone stealing gas from your vehicle.