THORN HILL (WATE) – Investigators say they've arrested a man who constructed an elaborate contraption to steal thousands of gallons of fuel.
Steven Poore has been arrested in the scheme. Parkway Market, a gas station in Thorn Hill and Volunteer Knot Apparel are among the victims.
"I've never seen any type of structure built like this. I mean it's pretty ingenious," said Grainger County Sheriff Scott Layel, showing us the device.
On the outside it looks like an ordinary trailer that Steven Poore would drive over underground gas tanks at gas stations like Parkway Market.
"What they would do is pull this tank over the commercial in-ground storage unit. Then they would pull open this trap door," explained Sheriff Layel, showing us a trapdoor on the floor of the trailer. He says Poore would use a pump to suck up hundreds of gallons fuel. A hose would pour that fuel into two large 500 gallon tanks.
Sheriff Layel says Poore would then sell the fuel for low prices.
"He was selling it on the black market for discounted prices. We've heard everything from $2 a gallon, to $2.50 a gallon," he explained.
Authorities are pretty fascinated by the device that was being used for the operation. Although they say the combination of so much gas with such little ventilation was incredibly dangerous.
"You have a rolling bomb more or less," Sheriff Layel explained.
Today Steven Poore remains behind bars for his elaborate gas stealing scheme. Although the sheriff does give him credit for building a device like the one he did.
"If you can put in this much time in building this system, then you can put that time in doing something much more constructive," he said.
If you've noticed a gas station or some sort of commercial operation that had a large quantity of gas just disappear, contact the Grainger County Sheriff's Office. It's possible you could be one of Poore's victims.