Diesel Thieves Plague Farmers

Irrigation systems are also caches of diesel fuel
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2008 2:33 PM CDT
A motorist fuels up at a gas station in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Tuesday, May 27, 2008.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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(Newser) – With oil prices stuck in triple digits, any form of gas is becoming precious booty for thieves, CNN reports. The latest targets: farmers running diesel-fueled irrigation pumps. Fuel tanks, often sitting unguarded in fields, can be a quick score of around 250 gallons in the middle of the night. In Kern County, California, alone the sheriff estimates that $300,000 worth of diesel was stolen in the past 3 months.

Most of the fuel is sold to truckers, who are eager for the no-questions-asked bargain. It's not the first time these farmers have been plagued by thieves, says the sheriff. "They couldn't turn on their irrigation pumps last summer because of the copper theft. This summer, they can't turn on their pumps because they stole the diesel. What's next? Are they going to steal the pumps?"