Slick police work leads to arrest of man accused of stealing oil

RCMP in Saskatchewan and Alberta have charged a man with stealing seven tanker trucks worth of oil, noting the motive may be uncertain considering how the price of the commodity has fallen.

Benchmark price now under $30 US per barrel

RCMP said this tanker truck was used to steal oil from several energy sites in Alberta and Saskatchewan in recent months. (RCMP)

RCMP have charged a 61-year-man over several large-scale thefts of oil from energy sites in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Mounties said they made an arrest Tuesday following an investigation that spanned several months.

The accused is from Lashburn, Sask., and is facing seven counts of theft over $5,000.

RCMP said a tanker truck that can carry 30 cubic metres of oil was used to commit the alleged thefts.

The benchmark price for oil is now under $30 US per barrel, leading to questions about why someone would steal oil.

"I don't know, I guess that's something we'll have to ask the suspect involved," Sgt.  Jolyne Harrison, from the Maidstone detachment of the RCMP, said Thursday. "I guess there is still some profit to be made."

Harrison added the charges are rare.

"Mostly because it's hard to prove," Harrison said. "There's no identifiable features in oil [so] it's not as easy to prove that it belongs in a specific area."

RCMP said the thefts were noted around Maidstone and Cutknife in Saskatchewan and around Kitscoty in Alberta. Thefts were also noted around Lloydminster, the community that straddles the Saskatchewan-Alberta boundary.

The accused is set to appear in court on Feb. 23.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.