METTER - Diesel fuel thefts amounting to a loss of more than $100,000 were discovered this week by Metter Police Investigators with multiple incidents occurring at Jay's Truck Stop during the past year.
An initial investigation began after the latest incident occurred in Metter on Friday at approximately 9 p.m.
It was determined that about 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel amounting to more than $50,000 was stolen from the truck stop, which is located at the Metter exit on Interstate 16, in the past two months.
Evidence obtained Tuesday morning, however, indicates a loss double that amount, said Investigator Justin Wells, with incidents dating back at least a year.
"This is the first we've heard of these thefts," Wells said.
Yet recent calls coming in from Bulloch County suggest the same criminal activity has occurred lately in neighboring counties as well, he said.
The perpetrators are believed to possess some kind of device used to manipulate the readings on the gas pumps.
Prepaid credit cards are used to initiate the interaction prompting the clerk to turn on the pump, said Wells, but the device placed on the pump interferes with its readings.
Offenders obtain hundreds of gallons of fuel, creating the appearance of purchasing only one or two gallons, he said.
Wells said a similar case in Florida suggests the device is probably home-made-a small black box with a wire coming out of it.
"This type of manipulation won't show up until you run tank diagnostics," Wells said.
Some truck descriptions and tag numbers were obtained from surveillance cameras at Jay's Truck Stop, Wells said, along with a photo of a suspect in the case, but the identity of the offenders remain unknown.
The suspects are believed to be of Latino decent, and possibly from Florida. There is a reward being offered for information leading to arrests.
Anyone with information regarding the thefts is asked to contact the Metter Police Department at (912) 685-5437 or email Investigator Justin Wells at firstname.lastname@example.org.