EL RENO — Authorities continue to investigate a series of crude oil thefts in at least six Oklahoma counties. One man has been arrested in the theft of oil worth up to $100,000, but investigators still hope to identify who was buying it.
“That's what the ultimate goal is,” said Kent Chrisman, Devon Energy Corp.'s director of security and administration.
Canadian County Sheriff Randall Edwards said Yukon resident Mark Dale Bass Jr. was arrested earlier this month after investigators saw him take about 100 barrels of oil from a tank battery near Rush Springs.
Bass' tanker truck, and the stolen oil in it, were seized Oct. 5 when he was arrested, the sheriff said. A subsequent search of the 34-year-old's home yielded a large quantity of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
“We are now trying to account for every barrel of crude oil taken and get the companies reimbursed for their losses,” Edwards said. “Any time you have something that negatively impacts our oil companies like this, it hurts all of us.”
Bass, who has not been charged with a crime, is free on $5,000 bail. He could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Edwards said investigators witnessed and documented oil being taken from six different counties after receiving theft reports from Devon Energy in early August. Colorado-based QEP Resources Inc. and Cimarex Energy Co. also filed theft reports.
Chrisman said Devon had been losing 50 to 100 barrels at a time, so he directed retired Oklahoma City police investigator Ken Rickenbrode to look into the thefts. Rickenbrode worked with local law enforcement agencies to investigate the thefts.