An employee of a contractor hired by the Town of Discovery Bay to install updated water meters in homes throughout the community was arrested late last week on suspicion of stealing over $15,000 worth of the new brass meters with the intent of selling them for parts.
Modesto resident Daniel Cantrell, 41, was arrested at a Modesto motel on suspicion of stolen goods.
It does seem to have been a bit of an inside job, said Town Manager Virgil Koehne of 64 stolen meters. The one guy did work for a vendor that operates our water and sewer, and they have keys to our site. We believe that he used his key to get into the storage shed that had the meters in them.
In an unrelated incident, Modesto police arrested Modesto resident Stanley Perry, 44, on March 12 for suspicion of possession of stolen property and bail violation from a previous drug charge, according to a press release by Sgt. Ed Steele.
Once inside Perry's apartment, police noticed dozens of stacked boxes in the residence, which turned out to be the stolen water meters.
Apparently there were two bad guys, and they were in the process of breaking them (meters) apart when the Modesto PD came calling on one for a drug charge, said Koehne. One of them opens the door with a water meter part in his hand and the police put two and two together. Once they got the authority to go in, they found the other meters in boxes.
It is believed that the pair was stripping the water meters for the brass parts and trying to sell them to a nearby recycler, but were turned away when the owner of the scrap metal facility became suspicious over the quantity and quality of the products.
According to Koehne, the vendor who hired Cantrell has agreed to reimburse the district for its loss.
The vendor is going to pay us back, and to me that's fine, said Koehne. I see no reason to fire the company. They've done a decent job for us, and obviously the guy is no longer working for them, so to me it doesn't justify the means to cancel them. I guess it's (the theft) just a sign of the times. Koehne added that a security upgrade for the facility is in the works.
At press time, Perry was still in custody on $85,000 bail, and Cantrell had been released on bail.