Thursday, November 15, 2018
Public safety

Deputies: Polk man stole diesel fuel from Adam Putnam’s family citrus grove

At first, it only seemed like he was looking to steal diesel fuel. Then, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said, it turned out he already had.

Donald Fowler, 47, of Mulberry, was arrested Saturday night after deputies pulled him over while hauling a 500-gallon plastic tank with no license plate or tail lights near Putnam Citrus Groves in Bartow, the agriculture business owned by the family of Adam Putnam, according to an arrest report.

Deputies said Fowler was driving without a license, and a fuel transfer pump, bolt cutters, gloves and pipe wrench were found in the silver Saturn SUV he was driving. Deputies said he told them he was in the area looking for diesel fuel to steal.

At the time, Fowler was charged with possession of burglary tools with intent to use, driving an unregistered motor vehicle and knowingly driving with a license suspended or revoked.

Two days later, Danny Yost from Putnam Citrus Groves told the Sheriff’s Office someone had cut a chain to a fuel shed, cut the lock of a fuel tank and stole 60 gallons of fuel. Recognizing the similarities, the Sheriff’s Office interviewed Fowler while he was in jail. Deputies said Fowler then admitted to stealing the fuel.

He was additionally charged with trespassing, petit theft and burglary.

Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said diesel theft is a growing problem in agricultural areas.

"Diesel fuel thefts are an ongoing problem in our agricultural areas," he said. "Our deputy did a great job preventing another theft from happening."

The Sheriff’s Office said Fowler has an extensive criminal history including eight felony charges, 21 misdemeanor charges and two stints in Florida State prison.

Daniel Figueroa IV can be reached at [email protected] Follow @danuscripts

Comments
Charges are being filed against the homeless vet and couple who raised $400,000 for him online

Charges are being filed against the homeless vet and couple who raised $400,000 for him online

The heart warming story of a homeless veteran who saved a woman was all a scheme to make money, prosecutors in New Jersey say.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Wesley Chapel baby dies after falling into a pool, authorities say

Wesley Chapel baby dies after falling into a pool, authorities say

Masir White, who was 10 months old, died at the hospital that night, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Note in accused killer's car led authorities to Hernando park ranger's body

Note in accused killer's car led authorities to Hernando park ranger's body

Jeffrey Morrison told authorities in June that he'd killed his girlfriend, Mitzi Babb. When they searched his car, they found a message on a piece of cardboard that led them to a river.
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: The Rays’ Blake Snell takes the Cy Young; Red Tide is stalling the growth of Pinellas tourism; and catch up on all the latest Florida recount news.

The Daystarter: The Rays’ Blake Snell takes the Cy Young; Red Tide is stalling the growth of Pinellas tourism; and catch up on all the latest Florida recount news.

The Daystarter: What’s it like to be called up the NHL; this father had a foreboding sense about his son; check out all the Tampa Bay Times’ podcasts.
Updated: 5 hours ago
Florida woman steals lobster from Red Lobster tank, tells deputies she was 'blacked out drunk'

Florida woman steals lobster from Red Lobster tank, tells deputies she was 'blacked out drunk'

The lobster never saw it coming. And it was never seen again.
Updated: 2 hours ago
State attorney: Tampa cop had consensual sexual contact with woman at traffic stop

State attorney: Tampa cop had consensual sexual contact with woman at traffic stop

Hillsborough County's top prosecutor said new evidence surfaced during investigation showing the woman consented to the contact.
Updated: 6 hours ago
Hillsborough to be a dumping ground for clay from Hardee County phosphate mine

Hillsborough to be a dumping ground for clay from Hardee County phosphate mine

Hillsborough County Commissioners on Wednesday voted 4-2 in favor of a controversial request by Mosaic to dump clay from its Ona Mine into the Four Corners Mine in southeast Hillsborough County.
Updated: 6 hours ago
Slain father: ‘If something happens to me, it’s going to be my son.’

Slain father: ‘If something happens to me, it’s going to be my son.’

Friends mourn the loss of Jim Costello, who said he feared his son. Tarpon Springs police say the son fatally shot his father after a fight over a dog.
Updated: 6 hours ago
Wesley Chapel toddler fell into pool, rushed to hospital

Wesley Chapel toddler fell into pool, rushed to hospital

The incident took place in the 30600 block of Tremont Drive. The boy was reported to in critical condition.
Published: 11/14/18
Doctor facing malpractice suit wins key appellate court ruling

Doctor facing malpractice suit wins key appellate court ruling

Appeals court upholds ruling that expert witness doctor was not qualified to render opinion.
Published: 11/14/18