Many in the Capital Region are breathing slightly easier as gas prices have continued creeping downward over the last two weeks, but a massive fuel theft is leaving small business owners on edge.

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According to AAA, there’s been a six-cent decrease in the week leading up to the July 4th holiday weekend. And while commuters all feel the squeeze, that feels more like a vise to small business owners that rely on diesel to keep their livelihoods going. Diesel fuel has been selling at a premium, which is to say even more expensive than premium gas. The current Capital Region average is $6.27 per gallon.

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When people rely on this gas to turn a profit and feed their families, that makes what happened in Washington County even more sad and the actions of those behind it more despicable.

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On Wednesday June 22, Tim Lloyd and Cindy Bonnaci of Lloyd Crest Farm had 1,050 gallons of diesel delivered to their land and placed into several large fuel tanks visible from the road. When Lloyd went to fill a tractor to go mow, he discovered two of the fuel tanks had been emptied: a theft of almost 800 gallons of diesel. The money lost? More than $4,100.

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Nobody is sure how thieves were able to move that much diesel without getting noticed, but Bonnaci suspects several commercial trucks were filled in the middle of the night. Lloyd and Bonnaci have decided to build a building around the fuel tanks that will have additional locks – an extra cost at a time they need one least.

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The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the theft, trying to find the culprit(s) before they strike again. Investigators do have one ace up their sleeve: farm diesel is dyed red. If the fuel is used in any vehicle off a farm, it’s a clear indicator of theft.

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While they have every right to be angry and want justice, Lloyd Crest Farms says with money so tight they just want the fuel back, no questions asked. In the original TU report, Bonnaci told them, “drop it off in the middle of the night. We’d be happy.”

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