Oroville police are on the hunt for two men who have been pulling off daring gas thefts. So far, it looks like they've hit at least two stations in Oroville, and they could be connected to heists in Yuba and Sutter Counties as well. Early Tuesday morning, they pulled up to the Royal Mini Mart at 2970 Feather River Boulevard, broke into a pump, disabled it, and stole more than 800 gallons of premium gas. Owner Nick Sharma says they didn't seem concerned about the cameras, and they didn't appear to be in a hurry. He says, "The lights were one, there were big old cameras in front of their face. It freaked me out. They were eating chicken and drinking beer, I guess." Sharma says the men used an American Express to get the pump to deliver the gas, then disabled the computer to allow the gas to continue to flow. They filled up several drums as they ate chicken, leaving the bones when they left.
Frank Belser manages the Beacon Valero Station on Oro Dam Boulevard. He says a few weeks ago, the same thieves stopped at his station and stole several gallons of fuel, also in no hurry to get away from surveillance cameras. Says Belser, "They were able to manipulate the pumps and so meters wouldn't turn on. They filled up containers and just drove off. I think they're from out of the area, south of here."
Belser, a retired police officer, says the truck is black, pulling a white, distinctive trailer with possibly wood paneling on one side, carrying several 55 gallon white drums. The thieves may also have a surplus of gas that they're trying to sell to farmers and ranchers, or trying to give away.