Diesel thieves caught in the act - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Diesel thieves caught in the act

Fuel thieves bumped it up a notch in Lowndes County.

Two men are charged with backing a tanker truck up to an underground tank in Clyattville and trying to pump out thousands of gallons of diesel fuel.

They got caught in the act and police say this wasn't the first time they've done it.

Investigators say 40-year old Matt Ponsell of Folkston and 42-year old Shane Popham of Jesup used this truck to try to pump diesel fuel from an underground tank at the Busy Bee in Clyattville.

The truck belongs to Ponsell's boss, Ricky Taylor of Azalea Bioenergy Company Inc.

Investigators say Taylor didn't know his truck was being used to steal fuel.

The men were caught before they got any diesel.

"I think they're dead wrong by doing that," said trucker Raymond Jones.

Sgt. Theresa Fisher was on patrol and stopped before they could steal the fuel.

"There was also drug paraphernalia in the truck with gave her probable cause to make the arrest," said Sheriff Chris Prine.

Some other stores haven't been as lucky as the Busy Bee.

"They're dropping the hose down in the tank and pumping the fuel out and putting the lock back on and leaving," said Prine. "We've had about four cases already where there's been a good amount of fuel stolen."

Like R.J.'s Food Mart on Georgia Highway 376 where 300 gallons of fuel was taken September 27. They've linked Ponsell to that crime too.

Raymond Jones hauls logs from Florida to the paper mill he likes the convenience of the Busy Bee.

"Right now without this store I'd have to all the way to the interstate to get fuel to the truck stop with this store right here," said Jones. "I can leave the mill and go right here to it."

Jones says it's a shame that folks steal fuel and he's glad they're caught.

Ponsell and Popham are charged with criminal attempt to committ theft by taking, violation of the Georgia controlled substance act, possession of the tools for the commission of a crime and criminal damage to property. Powell is also charged with theft by taking.

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