More than $7,000 worth of fuel – 2,400 gallons – was drained over the weekend from a tank belonging to the Harford County Public Schools system, according to the Harford County Sheriff's Office.
Police believe the culprit had a large, tanker-style truck and was able to siphon off the fuel, Sheriff's Office spokesman Edward Hopkins said Wednesday.
On Monday, the tank was missing 2,400 gallons of diesel, valued at an estimated $7,200, he said.
The lot, in the 800 block of Pulaski Highway in Joppa, is owned by Chesaco RV, Hopkins said.
The property is fenced off with a lock and houses mostly recreational vehicles. The school system leases the lot, however, and school buses and a fuel tank are also stored in the back.
"It appears the suspects may have entered the compound by cutting a hole in the fence and then forcibly breaking a chain on the front gate to allow a vehicle to enter the compound and subsequently steal the fuel," he said. "It is believed the theft occurred around midnight Friday."
Schools spokeswoman Teri Kranefeld confirmed the crime but said the site was generally secure.
"The bus lot is secured by a fence that is chained and locked, however, the lock and chain were cut," she said Thursday. "In this fiscal climate, any loss is significant and will have an impact on the budget."
Hopkins said the lot has no cameras or other security besides the lock.
He said there were no suspects as of Thursday and anyone with information was encouraged to call 1-888-540-8477 or text "CRIMES" (274637), beginning the message with "MCS".