Arrest Made in Oil Heist

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A truck driver has given the Jasper County Sheriff's Department a lesson on crude oil by allegedly trying to steal it. Officers say the driver claimed it was salt water he was moving around. The driver was Jackie Ray McClain of Waynesboro, Miss.

But authorities say McClain wasn't hauling salt water. Instead, it was 150 barrels of resalable oil, crude oil that is sent to refineries and made into usable products like gasoline.

With each barrel costing approximately $67, officials say McClain made off with roughly $10,000 worth of crude oil.

The Mississippi Oil and Gas Board was tipped off and was waiting on McClain at his drop-off site.

"We issued a warrant for Jackie McClain, the driver of the truck. He was arrested. Wayne County Sheriff's Department picked him up and he was placed on $15,000 bond that he's already made. He will be going in front of a grand jury in February of 2006," said Jasper County Sheriff Kenneth Cross.

According to Cross, these types of incidents are hard to catch. Wells produce 200 gallons of crude oil a day, so it's hard to monitor what goes in and out of the holding tanks.

"This is probably the first case we've worked where they were stealing oil," said Cross. "But talking to some in the field and some of the oil and gas folks, this seems to go on a little more than we are aware."

The Mississippi Oil and Gas Board refused to comment on the regularity of these types of incidents.

Jasper County is still investigating this case to see if others might be involved.