GALLIPOLIS — The Gallia County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the theft of dozens of grill-type propane tanks from two local stores this past weekend.
Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning reported that overnight on Friday, a suspect or suspects stole multiple 20-pound cylinder LP gas tanks from the Par Mar store in Vinton and Dollar General in Bidwell.
Nearly 40 tanks were believed to have been stolen, and Browning further reported that the Mason County Detachment of the West Virginia State Police are also investigating the theft of several similar grill-type propane tanks that were taken from several residences in Mason County the same evening.
“Mason County had several missing from residences in the area of the town of Mason. The West Virginia State Police are handling that,” Browning said. “It’s just weird that the thefts occurred all within the same time period.”
The sheriff further reported on Monday afternoon that several of the tanks had been recovered earlier Monday on a rural road in Morgan Township in Gallia County after an auxiliary deputy working with a road department crew located several of the tanks in a ditch along a road. The auxiliary officer contacted the sheriff’s office and the tanks were later recovered and identified as being the tanks that had been removed from one of the stores.
Browning said he believes that whoever stole the grill tanks may want to either scrap the tanks or utilize their contents. However, it is something that his office is taking very seriously, and due to the nature of the items stolen, his office has contacted the Department of Homeland Security in regard to the thefts.
“These tanks are really only supposed to be dealt with through the vendors, so it should come up on the radar pretty quickly if someone is trying to sell them,” Browning said. “We’re just trying to be cautious with this.”
Anyone with information in regard to this case is encouraged to contact the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office at (740) 446-1221 or via their anonymous tip-line at (740) 446-6555.