On May 30, truck tires were stolen from a private water truck doing work for the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge.

Refuge manager Rob Vinson said the company doing work in Black Canyon was using an Ahern Rental, “a water truck being used by the contractor that is building our Black Canyon Trail.”

Sheriff Kerry Lee reported that “all four tires off a construction company truck working across the highway from the refuge had been stolen. We got a call at the dispatcher center at about 7 a.m.”

The water truck had brand-new Hankook 20-inch tires and rims. According to the sheriff’s report, the thieves, either working under cover of darkness, or just after daybreak, “put rocks underneath the axles, then dug down five to six inches, just enough to get it cleared, and took the rims and tires off. They took four rims and tires, front and back, but did leave the rear-inside dual tires and all the lug nuts. Those were heavy truck tires, so this was most likely a premeditated event.”

One of the refuge employees later told investigating deputies he had seen an older model white Dodge pickup truck with a matching camper shell leaving the scene about 6:30 that morning, but didn’t know if there was a connection and did not take the license plate. The employee thought it might have been a Nevada license.

Lee said he thinks this was definitely a theft that took some planning. “It’s not likely someone was just going along looking for something to steal. This took work, planning, and the proper tools. Not just some small socket set you would buy at a local store. These had big lug nuts.”

Vinson said it was disturbing to have this happen because vandalism on the refuge costs taxpayer dollars. “What they are doing, in a sense, is taking from everyone … money we could be using for doing wildlife management.”