Deputies Search for Clues in Gas Well Thefts

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Investigators say someone is stealing from gas wells in Sebastian County. Deputies made one arrest, but say others may be involved.

“Somebody was taking some stainless steel pumps,” said Investigator Philip Pevehouse, with the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office. “Somebody was also taking some solar panels that were used for control devices there.”

Deputies arrested Wade Frayer on a felony theft charge. He is accused of stealing from a gas well on Witcherville Road in south Sebastian County.

“If there are other people involved we are still actively looking,” said Pevehouse.

Investigators say they have had between five and six reports of gas well thefts since the beginning of November. “And some of them may still be coming in,” said Pevehouse.

The sheriff’s office says so far at least three different companies have had equipment stolen.

“Whoever's doing this kind of knows what they're doing that they know what to take apart,” said Pevehouse. “They know what valves to turn off.”

Deputies are not sure why the suspects target gas wells.

“A person is using a crime of opportunity, but they already have somewhere that they can take this and convert it into cash,” said Pevehouse.

If you have information about the thefts, call River Valley Crimestoppers at 78-CRIME. You will remain anonymous and could be eligible for a cash reward.