The Great East Texas Ten-Ton Oil Pump Heist

On one hand, you have to tip your John Deere hat and salute this little feat of deep East Texas Redneck ingenuity and derring-do. On the other hand, you just have to wonder WTF they were thinking.

The Web site of Jasper radio station KJAS picks up the tale:

According to Jasper County Deputy Mike Smith, he was on routine patrol on Highway 96, just north of Kirbyville, at about 5:00 when he spotted a 1/2 ton Dodge pickup truck struggling to pull a 16 foot lowboy trailer with a ten-ton oil pump on it. Smith said the truck had a flat tire, and one wheel on the trailer was completely gone.

According to Smith, the truck and trailer were creating a huge shower of sparks on the highway, which caught his attention.

As it might any attentive patrolman...

Anyway, this being deep East Texas, you know the rest of the "Hey Skeeter, hold mah beer and watch 'eeyus" drill. The deputy hit his lights and whipped around behind the crippled truck, the driver of the truck stomped on the gas, flat tire, missing trailer wheel, 10-ton cargo and all, and a sparks-flying, low-speed chase (said to top out at 45 MPH) ensued.

The chase ended two miles down the road in front of the home of the truck's driver, 51-year-old Barney Paul Green, who was currently out on bond for a felony theft charge from this past July.

Green told the officer that oil company Merit Energy gave them the $100,000 pump; Merit denied any such gift, and Green was arrested for warrants with more charges likely pending. His two passengers are likely to be charged with possession of stolen property and evading arrest.

The rank stupidity of the attempted getaway -- with its shades of James Brown's PCP-addled multistate oddyssey -- was matched only by the cleverness of the actual heist. Newton County Chief Deputy Paul Brister told KJAS that the alleged ne'er-do-wells cut a main valve from under the pump, then backed the trailer underneath it, and slashed the supports. The pump then tumbled into the trailer. And they would have got away with it were it not for all those meddling tons....

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