Lenoir City man accused of stealing $26,000 worth of gas

A Lenoir City man is accused of stealing one of the most valuable commodities around these days: 8,804 gallons of gas. Petroleum Transport Company Incorporated is pressing charges against a former employee the company believes stole $26,000 in gas. Dale Justin Spears is charged with theft and was in court Tuesday morning for a preliminary hearing. Defense attorney John Sholly told the court he was ready to defend his client Dale Spears. However, the prosecution didn't have all its witnesses, putting the case on hold until September. According to a police report, Spears filled up his tanker truck on April 9, 2008 at 10:45pm. PTC officials told police he then took the fuel to the wrong gas station--one that wasn't even a PTC customer.Managers told officers a GPS tracking device in Spears' truck registered him stopping at 889 Victor Drive an hour later. That's the Gas Market, also known as the Gas Mart, off Clinton Highway. A co-worker also told police he saw Spears at the Gas Market that night delivering gas. The fellow truck driver says Spears told him managers sent him there because Gas Mart was a new customer. PTC officials tell 10 News Gas Mart was not one of their customers. Spears was an employee with PTC for 6 months before he was arrested and charged with theft. According to his warrant, officers believe Spears sold the fuel to Gas Mart without his employer's permission. Police questioned Gas Mart co-owner Avtar Singh. Singh denies knowing Spears."We are being targeted because of our low gas prices," Singh told 10 News. Neither Avtar Singh nor anyone who works at Gas Mart has been charged with a crime Meanwhile, Spears' attorney says his client doesn't know what happened to the $26,000 in gasoline. Spears and his attorney declined an interview. Spears' preliminary hearing is now set for September 3.