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Men charged with stealing thousands of dollars worth of fuel in Greenfield

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UPDATE:

Jaswinder Singh was sentenced to one year in prison and three years on probation. Harpreet Sandhu was sentenced to two years in prison and four years of probation. Both pleaded guilty to one count of corrupt business influence and were sentenced on May 2, 2016.

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GREENFIELD, IN (July 29, 2015) -- Hancock County authorities have charged two Johnson County men with stealing thousands of dollars worth of fuel to benefit their own trucking company.

Jaswinder Singh, 58 and Harpreet Sandhu, 53 are accused of making multiple trips to a fueling station in Greenfield to steal nearly 1,800 gallons of diesel fuel from an underground tank. Both men face charges of theft and corrupt business influence.

Jaswinder Singh (left) and Harpreet Sandhu (right)

Jaswinder Singh (left) and Harpreet Sandhu (right)

The trouble started December 1, when employees at Jackson Oil & Solvents thought their fuel pumps weren’t working. They later realized the pumps were fine, but there was virtually no fuel left in their tank. More than 800 gallons had disappeared overnight.

“I’ve been in this business a long time, I’ve never seen this happen before,” said Jackson Oil & Solvent employee Kevin Wright.

Surveillance video at the fueling station showed a semi trailer pulling onto the property, and sitting on top of the manhole cover for about 45 minutes. A man could be seen walking back and forth next to the truck for about 45 minutes before he and another man drove off.

The same thing happened on April 13, but this time the thieves stole 983 gallons of fuel. On April 26, it happened again with 1,053 gallons stolen.

By the end of April, the thieves had stolen 1,789 gallons of fuel, totaling $6,518.48.

Days later, on May 4, a Greenfield officer patrolling the area spotted a truck at the station that matched the description from the previous thefts. The officer found Singh and Sindhu apparently in the act of stealing fuel from the tank.

An inspection of the truck revealed the semi trailer had holes cut in the floorboards, allowing hoses to reach down into the tank. The hoses were attached to battery-powered pumps, which police say allowed the men to pump the fuel into a 1,500 gallon tank in the back to the trailer.

Singh and Sindhu were arrested for criminal mischief. But that case was later dropped after a search of phone records revealed Singh and Sindhu were in Greenfield at the time of each fuel theft. Hancock County prosecutors filed new felony charges of theft and corrupt business influence.

Investigators believe the two men were using the fuel to benefit their own trucking business, California Freight, based in Whiteland. They were arrested on the new charges Friday, and were released on $10,000 bond from the Hancock County Jail. Further court hearings are pending.

Employees at Jackson Oil & Solvent were grateful to Greenfield Police for putting a stop to the repeated thefts.

They worked hard at it,” Wright said. “They did a lot of surveillance out here and they finally got the job done. We sure appreciate it.”