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2 arrested in half-million dollar theft from Gilsonite mine

Published: Monday, Oct. 7 2013 12:34 p.m. MDT

VERNAL — Two men are behind bars, accused of stealing half a million dollars worth of equipment and materials from a company that mines Gilsonite.

Christopher Corbin of Craig, Colo., and Kenneth Ray of Ogden, were arrested late Thursday, according to Uintah County Sheriff's Cpl. Brian Fletcher.

Deputies were dispatched to the Bonanza area 40 miles south of Vernal after receiving a report of a possible theft in progress. They found a truck leaving the area and stopped it.

Corbin, 40, and Ray, 25, were in the truck along with an estimated $500,000 in industrial equipment and materials taken from American Gilsonite Co., Fletcher said. Deputies also found drugs and drug paraphernalia, the corporal said.

Gilsonite is a unique industrial mineral found only in eastern Utah, according to American Gilsonite's corporate website. The glossy black, solid hydrocarbon resin was first discovered in 1860 by Samuel H. Gilson. It is used in the manufacture of acid, alkali and waterproof coatings.

Uintah County Sheriff Jeff Merrell attributed the quick arrests of Corbin and Ray to the person who called 911 and the quick response of deputies. Merrell encouraged others to contact the sheriff’s office if they see or are aware of suspicious activity.

Corbin and Ray were booked into the Uintah County Jail for investigation of burglary, theft, and drug possession.

— Geoff Liesik

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