GPS tracking devices and law enforcement officials have once again come together to uphold the law and catch criminals. Mark Dale Bass Jr. had been a suspect in series of crude oil thefts in at least six different Oklahoma counties, but law enforcement officials haven’t been able to find solid evidence connecting him to the crimes. The case was even more complicated because Mr. Bass is a Canadian citizen, and the thefts were taking place in America.
According to Devon Energy Corp.’s director of security and administration Kent Chrisman, Devon had been losing 50 to 100 barrels at a time, so he directed retired Oklahoma City police investigator Ken Rickenbrode to look into the thefts. Rickenbrode worked with local law enforcement agencies to investigate the thefts.
The investigation eventually led to Bass, a truck driver who used to work for a wastewater hauler hired by Devon. Bass’ time with the service company allowed him to learn more about Devon’s operations, and since he owned his own tanker truck he was able to easily haul oil away from other well sites.
Since the Canadian County Sheriff’s Department had probable cause to believe that Bass was committing these crimes, they applied for a warrant in which one of their district judges signed off on and put a GPS locator on his semi-truck.
It turns out the GPS device was just what they needed to finally bust the oil thief. Canadian County Sheriff Randall Edwards said that Mark Dale Bass Jr. was arrested earlier this month after investigators saw him take about 100 barrels of oil from a tank battery. Edwards said investigators witnessed and documented oil being taken from six different counties after receiving theft reports from Devon Energy in early August. Colorado-based QEP Resources Inc. and Cimarex Energy Co. also filed theft reports.
Grady County Assistant District Attorney Cortnie Cain said that the Bass case was one of the first GPS tracking device cases that she had worked on. Since the case went so well, it’s safe to assume that more law enforcement officials in Oklahoma will rely on GPS technology for their work.