2 men arrested after diesel fuel stolen from firefighting truck in Madras

Madras Police have arrested two men for stealing diesel from the back of a service truck used by crews battling wildfires across the state.

One of the men, 43-year-old Benjamin Courtney, also had an outstanding nationwide warrant from Vancouver, Washington for “escaping community custody.”

Madras Police Sgt. Steve Webb said dispatch received a call on Monday regarding the diesel theft by two men in a tan Jeep.

The Jeep had a blue tarp on the roof and numerous stickers in the back window and with the help of the community and social media, it was found Thursday morning in a parking lot along SW Highway 97.

Officers who contacted the individuals learned the gas-powered Jeep they had used during the theft was no longer running because they had reportedly placed the stolen diesel in the fuel tank, Webb said.

Courtney, who initially gave police a wrong name, was arrested on the out-of-state, no-bail warrant.

The second man, 52-year-old Gerald Weaver, was arrested for third-degree theft.

Both men were taken to the Jefferson County Jail.

Webb said the Madras Police Department wants to thank all of those who, by phone call and social media, provided information that led to the apprehension of these individuals.

“The theft of this diesel is more egregious than other thefts because it was taken off the back of a service truck used by firefighters who are battling the most severe wildfires our state has ever experienced,” Webb said. “These firefighters have left their homes and families and are here to help protect our resources, and more importantly, our neighbors.”

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