Thief looking to steal fuel sends Beavercreek church’s vans up in flames instead

Posted at 8:21 AM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 10:21:42-04

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    BEAVERCREEK, OR (KPTV) — A local church believes a thief was looking to steal some quick fuel but sent several vans up in flames instead.

It all happened in the parking lot of Grand View Baptist Church in Beavercreek at about 2 a.m. Sunday.

That’s when Pastor Mike Mutchler says a Clackamas County Sheriff’s deputy knocked on his door and told him the church’s vans were on fire.

Surveillance video shows the moment it happened. The suspect is seen walking up to the vans and then disappears underneath.

A short time later, a fire erupts and then the person reappears and runs away.

At first, Mutchler says they feared the worst.

“At first we thought it was arson, but as it checked out, someone was just stealing fuel and they used a drill and drilled up to the gas tank and sparked it,” he said.

The church believes this was just a careless act gone terribly wrong.

But they are still left with three destroyed vans and others with a lot of damage.

“We use those every single day… not only on things like Vacation Bible School that we have right now, but also we have a school that operates all year round,” Mutchler said.

To make matters worse, Mutchler says the church thought they had all the vans insured. But it turns out they only have liability, not comprehensive, so now they are stuck replacing the vans to the tune of $10,000 a piece.

Mutchler says the church’s vans and buses often are targeted by fuel thieves, but this is the most damage that’s been done.

He says the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office was left with few clues as to who did this, so if you have any information, please give them a call.

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