16 involved in Houston-area fuel theft ring; 8 arrested, 8 wanted for stealing more than 100K gallons of gas
HOUSTON - Sixteen people were involved in a scheme to steal diesel fuel from gas stations in Houston, officials say.
Eight people have already been arrested in connection with a large-scale organized theft ring, while eight suspects are still wanted by authorities. The group allegedly stole more than 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel from gas stations across the Houston region.
Manvel Police Department and the Texas Financial Crimes Intelligence Center (FCIC) believe the group was involved in more than 60 cases of diesel theft between February and October 2022.
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According to officials, the theft ring illegally entered fuel pumps and manipulated the system measuring the amount of fuel being dispersed to trick it into showing smaller purchases than the one that was actually dispensed.
The group then worked to pump and steal the fuel, which they then took to truck yards that illegally stored and sold the stolen fuel to truck drivers at a discounted rate and without charging the required state motor fuels tax.
Authorities say the suspects have been charged with Engaging in Organized Crime and Evading Motor Fuel Tax, which are first-degree felony charges in Texas. If convicted, they face sentences of up to 99 years in prison and each of their bonds has been set at $500,000.
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According to officials, the crimes increase prices at the gas pump, undercut legitimate carriers in the trucking industry by providing an unfair price advantage to people purchasing stolen fuel, and circumvent taxes that should be paid to the State of Texas.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the suspects at large should contact Manvel Police Department at 281-489-1212.