Series of Thefts in Pine Grove, including Stolen Gas

PINE GROVE, Pa. -- Investigators in part of Schuylkill County say there have been several thefts in the borough of Pine Grove over the past couple of weeks, including a string of crimes the police chief says are extremely rare.

Seven car owners have filed reports saying their gas tanks have been emptied during the overnight hours.

It's been a tough summer for many people who live in Pine Grove. The borough has been hit hard by flash flooding. Now, police say there has been a large number of break-ins and thefts since late August, including the siphoning of fuel from parked vehicles.

"It's pretty bizarre," said Pine Grove Police Chief Thomas Trotter. "With the drug problem that we have now in the area, it wouldn't surprise me. I wouldn't put it past them to try and take whatever they can to sell."

Police say there have been more than 10 incidents of various thefts reported and seven different car owners reported that gas has been stolen from their parked vehicles.

"It's a real concern in the fact that we have outside coolers and I'm worried about coming to work one day and we won't have the food that we need or you go to start your car and you don't have gas. It's a real problem that needs to be addressed," said Brett Lentz, chef at O'Neal's Pub.

"We had thought we might go away and use the car again. When we came home with it, I just left it there, but then I thought I better put it inside to take precaution," said resident Lloyd Yeager.

One man who has lived in Pine Grove his entire life says the main stretch of the borough used to be thriving. He's sad the area isn't what it used to be, with these crimes serving as the latest problem.

"We didn't have broken buildings, fires everywhere. There wasn't drug problems going on. We didn't have people stealing gas all the time. Kids are kids, but when it's happening repeatedly and nothing is done, nobody's catching nobody, then you got an issue," Russell Lymaster said.

The Pine Grove Police Department says there's no reason to be overly concerned about any of this, but it wants people to just be on the lookout.

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