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Police: Felon caught stealing $105K worth of water from Phelan utility's filling station

CBS News Los Angeles: The Rundown (March 31 AM Edition) 02:04

Authorities say a felon used a stolen water meter to take a small fortune's worth of water from the Phelan/Pinon Hills Water District.

Manuel Gomez, 53, was arrested Tuesday after employees of the Phelan/Pinon Hills Water District reported someone was stealing water at a water filling station on Sheep Creek Road. 

Deputies who arrived at the scene found Gomez driving a tanker truck with an expired registration full of water, along with a loaded firearm, and 8 grams of methamphetamine, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department. Officials say that Gomez used the stolen water meter to take an estimated $105,000 worth of water.

It's unclear what Gomez was going to do with that volume of water, but California is in the midst of a worsening drought, and state officials are tightening restrictions on water usage.

Gomez was arrested on suspicion of grand theft of utilities, being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and possession of drugs while armed.

Anyone with information about the theft can contact Deputy Daniel Peterson at (760) 552-6800.

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