Theft from fire service truck led to social media reports
On Wednesday, Sept. 16, Madras Police received a phone call regarding a theft of diesel on Monday, Sept. 14.
"The theft of this diesel is more egregious than other thefts because it was taken off the back of a service truck used by firefighters who are battling the most severe wildfires our state has ever experienced," said Sgt. Steve Webb. "These firefighters have left their homes and families and are here to help protect our resources, and more importantly, our neighbors."
Those involved in the theft were caught on a surveillance camera, Webb said. They were in a tan Jeep with items covered in a blue tarp on the roof of the vehicle and numerous stickers on the back window.
Through community involvement and assistance via social media, the vehicle was found the parking lot of 1101 SW Highway 97 in Madras on the morning of Sept. 17, Webb said.
"Officers who contacted the individuals learned the gas-powered Jeep they had been using during the theft was no longer running because they had reportedly placed the stolen diesel in the fuel tank," Webb said.
Law enforcement contacted the two people. One was identified as 52-year-old Gerald Weaver II. The second person, who police say initially gave a false name, was identified as Benjamin Courtney, 43.
Weaver was arrested on suspicion of third-degree theft. Courtney was found to have an outstanding nationwide no-bail warrant from Vancouver, Washington, for "escaping community custody."
Both were taken to the Jefferson County Correctional Facility.
"Again, the Madras Police Department want to thank all those who, by phone calls and social media, provided information that led to the apprehension of these individuals," Webb said.
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