A Milton-Freewater family is aghast at a $31,000 fuel-card bill last month, nearly 20 times their usual amount.
Tonya Humbert, secretary for Bob Humbert and Son, 1560 S. Main St., Milton-Freewater, said the company usually charges about $1,700 in diesel fuel to operate vehicles for their concrete and septic system business.
But when she opened the most recent bill from Pendleton Grain Growers, she realized something was up. She called the Umatilla County Sheriffs Office and the police in Hermiston, where some of the fuel charges were made.
Just over $31,000 in a months time, she said.
Humbert said she didnt realize a company PGG fuel card was missing. She said the culprits used the card to take 8,700 gallons, almost all of it diesel from the PGG site at 30854 Feedville Road.
We didnt even know this could happen. We dont even know if we have a credit limit that high, she said.
Humbert said the thefts began Sept. 30.
They definitely knew what they were doing, she said. Within an hour, they had over a thousand gallons.
She said the Feedville site allows a maximum of 250 gallons per sale, so someone had to be ready to haul at least that much. She said the companys biggest trucks have 200 gallon tanks.
The sheriffs office is investigating the theft from Feedville. Sgt. Tawin Compton said the case is still fresh and didnt know if there was video footage of the theft. The sheriffs office, however, does have leads on this case, he said.
The thief or thieves stole about $1,500 in unleaded gas from the Hermiston PGG store on South First Street. And Compton said the Morrow County Sheriffs Office also is involved.
Bob Humbert opened the business in 1994. His son, Boyd, is the company president, whos married to Tonya.
Message left by the East Oregonian for a manager at the Feedville station were not returned by deadline.
Stealing more than $10,000 is aggravated theft in Oregon, a Class B felony. Humbert said the thieves might be selling the fuel at a discount rate to semi drivers.
She also said all of this happened at a tough time. The Humbert family just lost its matriarch, and Boyd had to take a job to earn extra money to keep the business afloat. Humbert and Son doesnt have the funds to cover the fuel bill.
If even one person could speak up and let us know..., she said.