CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. – The Cleveland County Sheriff’s department is looking for a suspect connected to the theft of more than 100 gallons of fuel in Shelby Wednesday night.
gas station manager Tommy Hamrick has never seen anything quite like it.
It’s been 55 years that he's been in the business and just this week, he found out how
gasoline was being stolen from N&K Quickstop on Wednesday night.
Brandon Littlejohn, 23, and Brandon Walker,19, were arrested and charged with larceny, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, A 15-year-old was also taken into custody and believed to have been with the two during the theft.
"These guys, what they were doing is re-selling the fuel,” said Sheriff Alan Norman,
Sheriff Alan Norman credits the deputy who noticed a Cadillac parked directly over the fuel reservoir housed underground.
Upon closer look, the deputy noticed a 50-gallon drum in the backseat. It was connected to a motorized water-pump, and powered by an inverter.
Sheriff Norman says the culprits siphon gas, simply by dropping the hose. It was done in a matter of minutes.
"You wonder how many organizations are doing the same thing whether in Cleveland, Gaston and other counties," he said.
"We believe they've been here quite a few times," says Hamrick.
The sheriff department is looking for a third suspect, David Vogen, 30.
In the course of the investigation they found the men, who were near the Cadillac, called 9-1-1 to falsely report a fight several miles away.
The distraction didn’t work because another deputy was nearby to investigate.
"If they would have put all that forethought in helping the local economy and society, you think of where we could be,” pondered the Sheriff.
Gas stations in the area have been advised to secure their reservoir.
Hamrick says they will install several security cameras.
The Sheriff received similar reports at three businesses in Cleveland County. The department also investigated a similar theft last year.