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Cloverdale FD gas thief in stolen pickup eludes capture


(Update: Pickup found abandoned in Terrebonne)

A Deschutes County sheriff’s deputy called to a gas theft early Sunday at a Cloverdale Rural Fire District station pursued the driver of a stolen pickup at up to 90 mph but lost sight of it, and a subsequent search failed to find the pickup, deputies said. The pickup was later found abandoned in Terrebonne.

The sheriff’s office responded around 5:40 a.m. to the reported theft in progress at an on-site commercial fuel tank at the Cloverdale Rural Fire District station on George Cyrus Road, Sgt. Deke DeMars said.

Cloverdale Fire Chief Thad Olsen said a neighbor called to ask if they were filling barrels with gas from the fuel tank and described the green Chevy pickup.

Olsen said he told the neighbor “we don’t have the kind of rig,” so the resident called 911, also snapping a photo.

Olsen said he and a fellow fire district employee went to the scene. “When he saw us coming, he took off,” the fire chief said. “We tried to get a license plate, but we couldn’t.”

A responding sheriff’s patrol deputy spotted the pickup at the intersection of Highway 20 and Fryrear Road and tried to stop it, but the driver fled, prompting a pursuit on the highway that reached speeds of 90 mph at times, DeMars said.

The pickup and pursuing deputy headed west on Highway 20 to Peterson Ridge Road, DeMars said. The deputy lost sight of the truck, which was last seen heading west on the Brooks Scanlon Logging Road near the intersection with Peterson Ridge Road.

Deputies, assisted by Oregon State Police, searched the area but were unable to locate the pickup, which the sergeant said was later reported as stolen overnight from the northeast Redmond area.

Other deputies later saw the pickup in Sisters “but did not pursue the vehicle due to the reckless driving observed in the city limits,” DeMars said in a news release.

Shortly after 6 p.m. Sunday, deputies were called to Northwest Placer Lane in Terrebonne on a report of the stolen pickup being in the area. They found the unoccupied truck, but are still looking for the suspect.

The sheriff’s office asked anyone with information about the driver to call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911. You can also call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-877-876-TIPS. You can remain anonymous, and you could be eligible for a cash reward.

“We believe they’ve actually stolen twice from us” in the past day, Olsen said. The fire chief said firefighters noticed Saturday the pump was in the “on” position, even though the padlock was still on it, and the meter showed $40.

“He somehow monkeyed it, bent it out of place so the valve would open,”‘ the fire chief said. “We think they stole around 90 gallons of fuel.”

The fuel tank uses a gravity-fed, non-electric pump, available to fill fire vehicles when gas stations are closed. If the problem continues, Olsen said it could force them to stop having fuel at the fire station for such situations.

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