NORTHPORT, Maine — In what could be a harbinger of things to come, the Waldo County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the theft of heating oil from a home on Belfast Road.
Chief Deputy Robert Keating said the owner of the property reported the theft on Tuesday after she went there to check on it. The oil tank had held about 180 gallons of fuel oil and was emptied. Keating said tire tracks indicated that the oil was likely pumped from the outdoor tank and driven off.
“They could see tracks on the grass where somebody had backed up to the tank,” Keating said of investigating deputies Merl Reed and Kevin Littlefield.
Keating said the theft occurred sometime after Sunday because that was the last time the owner checked her property before Tuesday afternoon.
Keating, a veteran officer, said he had investigated instances where gasoline was siphoned from cars and diesel from trucks or school buses over the years, but he could not recall fuel oil being stolen from homes. He said he hoped the theft was an isolated incident and not something that might occur more frequently.
“I hope not, but with the economy it could be a sign of the times,” Keating said Thursday. “This is the first time we’ve seen a fuel tank emptied.”