Graceville- Most thieves work under the cover of darkness and act quickly. Typically, victims feel the impact of the loss immediately. But a recent string of thefts in Jackson County has been anything but usual. The crooks have stolen very unusual items- propane tanks.
"These are not like the five pound propane tanks that you have an out door cooker with. These are big, big tanks for household usage or commercial usage" Jackson County Major, Donnie Branch told us.
One business, a hunting lease and two churches have reported their tanks stolen so far. And, almost all of the owners said they didn't even realize they'd been taken.
"We don't use the gas for anything except heating, hot water, for our stove- and we rarely ever use that. So therefore, since nothing was turned on, we didn't realize it was gone" said Patty Sheffield, a member of Spring Hill Methodist Church.
The sheriff's office estimated the loss of Spring Hill's tank, gas included, to be around $750. For a church with around 16 members, Sheffield said it was not something that could've been easily replaced.
"Since [my husband and I] have a gas tank ourselves, we're just going to donate it. Because, we know the church, it would be a big loss for them" she told us.
Who, what, when and how were all questions that remained unanswered Tuesday. But the one that seemed the most puzzling was, why?
"I don't know what they're doing with them" Major Branch said.
He told us some of the locations were also missing copper piping and said selling the metal could have been the motive. But Sheffield disagreed.
"The scrap metal place said they didn't buy propane tanks and that the only way you could sell them is for them to be cut up. That was a large tank and it was full of gas which you would have to do away with the gas in order to cut it up. And, other metal was not missing that belonged to the church" Sheffield explained.
Major Branch asked anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers (850) 526-5000