DOH truck stolen, set on fire

The Inter-Mountain photos by Tim MacVean A Department of Highways 2014 Ford F-250 crew cab pickup truck sustained heavy damage after being stolen Monday night from the DOH District 8 facility, located just outside Elkins on U.S. 219, and set ablaze.

ELKINS — Law enforcement officials are investigating a Monday night theft from the Department of Highways that left a DOH truck on fire.

Cpl. S.P. Miller, of the West Virginia State Police, said the investigation is in the “initial stages” but it appears a pair of buildings on the DOH District 8 property, located just outside Elkins on U.S. 219, had been entered and a truck stolen.

“Right now, that I can tell, they had two buildings that were broken into and gone through,” Miller said. “Of course, the truck was stolen and the gate rammed. I’m trying to check on other leads and see if any businesses in the area have video.”

The truck, a 2014 Ford F-250 crew cab, was taken from DOH property, rammed through the gate and was later found behind NAPA Auto Parts, located on Harrison Avenue in Elkins, on fire. Senior Patrolman B.D. Tice and Patrolman D.T. Sayre, both of the Elkins Police Department, responded to the call of the flame-engulfed truck.

“The city officers responded at first. Once they figured out it was a DOH truck and a manager of DOH showed up, they said ‘That truck should have been in the garage out here on North Randolph,’ so they accompanied him to the (DOH) property,” Miller said. “That’s when they found the gate rammed out and the garage door open. That’s when they called us because it was out of the city.”

A Department of Highways District 8 crew works to repair a fence that was torn down after a DOH truck was stolen Monday night and driven through the gate.

James Rossi, district engineer/manager for DOH District 8, said the agency is still working to determine what all was lost in the theft and fire, but noted they did lose tools.

“I know the costs are extensive,” he said during an interview with The Inter-Mountain Tuesday afternoon.

He added that this incident was the second time someone had accessed the property without authorization in the last month.

“This is the second time in three weeks,” Rossi said. “The first time, nothing of monetary value was taken.”

Rossi said no employees or personnel were on the property at the time of the incident. He added this is the first time he’s experienced theft at this level.

“I’ve been here for 26 years and haven’t seen anything to this level of theft and vandalism,” he said. “It’s extensive property damage and we lost some tools.”

He also said the incident forced a crew to be without a truck and unable to be out on the road working on projects.

“There is a loss of production. A crew that should have been on the road working didn’t make it out because they were assessing damage,” Rossi said. “The vehicle that was burnt was probably the number one vehicle to the sign department. It carried tools they need for work every day.”

Anyone with information regarding the incident is urged to contact Miller by calling 304-637-0200.