CHARLESTON -- Four East Prairie residents are charged with stealing for fuel thefts in Mississippi County.
The arrests were made following an investigation initiated and supervised by Mississippi County Sheriff Keith Moore and Chief Deputy Charlie Marcum and led by Deputy Marc Tragesser.
"Due to the rising costs of fuel, thefts of fuel have increased at a high rate," Moore said in a press release.
Moore said several area businessmen have followed his advice and placed cameras on their fuel tanks. "Thanks to such a device, we were able to make the arrests and solve this crime, and possibly others as well," he said.
Acting on information and following some investigation, Tragesser reportedly conducted a vehicle stop on a truck driven by Ronnie Moreland, 47, of East Prairie. During the stop, it was discovered that Moreland had approximately 500 gallons of "AG fuel" without a receipt and no placard in addition to several other traffic violations. The vehicle driven by Moreland and his wife, Leslie, 27, was positively identified as the truck in photos where fuel was being stolen.
The Morelands are charged with four counts of stealing and are currently being held in the Mississippi County Detention Center with a $100,000 cash bond each.
Also arrested in the case were: Joe Bob True, 65, and Ryan Worley, 21, of East Prairie. True and Worley are also charged with four counts of felony stealing and are also being held in the Mississippi County Detention Center with a $100,000 cash-only bond.
"Crimes like these will only increase with the rising costs of fuel," Moore said. "Proactive measures such as the ones this victim took increase the level of security and assist law enforcement to investigate and follow up on cases and make good solid arrests."