For several months Canadian County investigators have been following an oil theft ring that spanned across several Oklahoma counties.
For months investigators have been setting up surveillance to catch a thief they believe has been targeting major oil company’s battery tanks and this week they made their first arrest.
Out in rural Oklahoma, it’s pretty empty, but beneath the ground and up into the large tanks is a valuable resource; an expensive commodity that makes up one of our state’s bread and butter industries; oil.
But recently the Canadian County Sheriff’s Department started getting calls from large Oklahoma oil companies who said someone was stealing their crude oil.
“Some of the pumpers were going to their locations and realizing their tank batteries were 8 feet down 7 feet down,” one investigator says.
That means someone else had pumped some of the oil out of the tanks and investigators say it was Mark Dale Bass Jr. a former oil worker.
“We observed him going to various counties and stealing oil from various companies,” investigators say.
Authorities say Bass is responsible for thefts, not only in Canadian County, but on Grady, Stephens, Carter and Jefferson counties as well.
They say he’d break into oil sites and fill up the large tank on the back of his truck and that truck is now in custody as evidence.
Investigator says, “He averaged about a hundred barrels a night and you’re looking at $10,000 a night.”
Investigators say Bass would sell the oil but he wasn’t working alone. They say he had at least one partner who was sharing the profits.
“Basically what they were doing is he was sending through another well company and they were writing that well company a check and he was taking the checks,” investigators say.
Bass bonded out of jail and is now facing theft charges as well as charges for possessing of meth.