Bakersfield Men Sentenced for Damaging Oil Field Facilities
FRESNO, CA—Derek A. Brown, 33, and Bryan T. Schaub, 22, both of Bakersfield, were sentenced today to two years in prison and ordered to pay $240,084 in restitution for conspiring to damage energy facilities, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, in 2011 and 2012, Brown and Schaub stole electronic equipment from the oil field facilities of Chevron, Occidental, Seneca Western Minerals Corporation, Aera Energy, and Berry Petroleum. Among the equipment they stole were programmable logic controllers that electronically control the opening and closing of valves in the oil fields. The theft of a programmable logic controller creates the risk of an oil spill or loss of production if not detected and remedied in time. The total loss of equipment by the oil companies exceeded $200,000.
“Brown and Schaub’s thefts resulted in significant losses in excess of the value of the equipment which was stolen and without any regard for the risk to consumers and the community. Removal of these highly technical controllers resulted in material losses and had the potential to negatively impact both production and prevention of oil spills,” said Special Agent in Charge Monica M. Miller of the FBI’s Sacramento division. “We are thankful for the Kern County Sheriff’s Department for their continued partnership and assistance with the investigation of this matter, the first of its kind in the region.”
This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Duce Rice and Michael Tierney prosecuted the case.