BREWER, Maine — The owner of L.A. Pearson Heating Oil, located on the Fuller Road in Hermon, has been charged with stealing more than $41,000 in oil from local distribution facilities, police said Wednesday.
Lewis A. Pearson, 48, was caught on video surveillance tapes filling up or partially filling his oil tanker 14 times at a South Main Street oil facility, said Brewer police Detective Sgt. Jay Munson.
Pearson charged the oil to the accounts of other local oil delivery companies, he said.
“He was able to obtain the account codes … that tell the [distribution] company who to bill,” Munson said. “He didn’t fill his truck up all 14 times; it was various amounts at different times.”
Pearson was charged with felony Class B theft by deception and for violation of conditions of release for the Brewer crimes.
He was arrested Dec. 12 when he refused to give his name to Hermon deputies who were attempting to serve him two tickets from the Bangor Police Department for similar thefts in that city.
In Bangor, Pearson was connected to two recent thefts from Webber Oil Co. on Main Street, Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said Wednesday.
The first Bangor theft was for $6,022 in kerosene and home heating oil, and the second was for $5,564 in heating oil, he said.
Police were checking other oil distributor facilities in Bangor, Brewer, Bucksport, on the Coldbrook Road in Hermon and in Ellsworth to see whether additional thefts have been reported, Munson said.
There is another oil dealership in Hermon with a similar name, D.A. Pearson Heating Oil, which is owned by Pearson’s brother, but it is not associated with any wrongdoing, police said.
What spurred the initial criminal investigation, Monson said, was a report by a local oil delivery company to Brewer police that it had been charged for oil that it did not buy.
“Detectives began interviewing employees from the distributorship as well as another oil delivery company that had been defrauded,” he said in a news release. “The investigation revealed that Lewis Pearson’s delivery truck was present at the time of the fraudulent oil purchases.”
Brewer police did not identify the companies that reported the thefts or how Pearson got their account codes.
“Through electronic logs and video evidence it was determined that Pearson had used access codes used by other delivery companies,” he said.
The stolen heating oil was delivered by Pearson to his clients, Munson said.
A message machine answered a call to the office of L.A. Pearson Heating Oil made on Wednesday.
If convicted of a Class B crime, Pearson faces a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. He is scheduled to appear March 4 in Bangor District Court.