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Suspects in diesel fuel thefts identified, caught

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The Ellis County Press

WILMER – Two Ohio residents are accused of rigging satellite links inside fuel pumps at the Shell station on Interstate Highway 45 to avoid paying for 243 gallons of diesel fuel.

Wilmer Police Chief R.D. Wells estimated the value of the fuel at $920.97 and if convicted of the Class A misdemeanor, both John Wilson, 47, and James Ratliff, 39, could serve jail time and pay hefty fines.

The incident was first reported to police in September, with WPD officers noticing the fuel pumps had been tampered with.

"The suspects had tampered with the satellite link inside the cover of the pump which would allow fuel to be pumped and not register on the pump itself," Wells said.

"Officers at the scene viewed in-store video surveillance of the pumps and saw activity by the suspects that supported the report of tampering with the pumps in question."

Wells said the WPD is investigating whether the alleged crimes occurred on other occasions.

The Shell owners said they have dealt with diesel fuel thefts since August.

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