LAKE WALES, FL (TodayNews) — After nearly a year of investigation, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office found an alleged gasoline thief who stole about 80 gallons of fuel from a Lake Wales facility, according to an affidavit.
On July 11, 2022, the owner of Lake Wales Flooring on Highway 27 reported that gasoline had been stolen from his heavy equipment.
The owner told deputies that he realized something was wrong with the theft after noticing that the canvas cover had been removed from his forklift and that a bucket and part of a garden hose lay next to the machine, the affidavit says. While the bucket belonged to his business, the garden house did not.
Deputies said the owner then inspected his other vehicles and found that about 70 gallons of fuel had been spilled from a van parked in front and another 10 gallons had been pumped out of a forklift parked on the side of the business.
According to the sheriff’s office, the garden hose was inspected by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. In June 2023, FDLE learned that the DNA sample on the hose matched that of 21-year-old Chase Lynn.
“Unfortunately, justice is not always quick. But hey, better late than never,” the sheriff’s office said.
When deputies asked the business owner if he knew Lynn, he replied that he didn’t.
The sheriff’s office obtained an arrest warrant for Lynn on three counts of vehicle theft and petty theft, and on July 2, 2023, a sheriff’s deputy found Lynn at an Eagle Lake exit.
“The deputy easily recognized him because Chase is well known to deputies for his previous involvement in construction site thefts and catalytic converter thefts,” the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post.