SMITH COUNTY - Oil wells in East Texas are being targeted for solar panels and batteries. The Smith County Sheriff's Office (SCSO) is investigating after three wells in Smith County were broken into on February 1.
CBS19 requested the incident reports for all thefts this year. The most recent incident report shows three oil wells were hit. Another incident report from January 29 shows two wells were hit for the same thing, detailing three batteries were taken.
Sergeant Darrell Coslin said with oil and gas being a leading industry in East Texas, the threat of theft at these sites is taken seriously.
"Through the past we've had theft and vandalism to these wells because they're usually remote and they're not manned. So the thefts do at times become a problem for us," Coslin said.
Thieves target solar panels and batteries because they're worth several hundred dollars, according to Coslin.
His suggestion for keeping your equipment safe is securing the locks, and making sure any equipment can't be accessed from the outside if unattended.
Deputies are patrolling various oil wells at night, when Coslin said theft is highest.
The SCSO is investigating the cases, and cannot confirm if they are related.
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