NEW PORT RICHEY
Man stole guardrail, sold it, authorities say
A 24-year-old man is accused of stealing a 16-foot metal guardrail and selling it at a metal recycling station.
David B. Supel, of Holiday, told the St. Petersburg Times that the arrest is a misunderstanding and that he will fight the charges.
Pasco Sheriff's deputies said Supel told them he found the rail in the woods and sold it for scrap because he is unemployed and needs money to feed his children, according to the Pasco Sheriff's Office.
The rail belongs to Pasco County and is worth $305. Supel got $29.90 for it, a report says.
Authorities discovered the rail was missing from 8704 Decubellis Road, where it was used as a border between a sidewalk and a pond. Supel denied prying it off and maintained he found it in the woods, the report said.
He "advised he knew it was wrong to take the rail," the report states.
Supel was arrested Thursday and charged with grand theft. He was released from the Pasco County jail Friday on $2,000 bail.
Supel said he has five children, is paying his way through school and was only collecting scrap metal to make ends meet. He can't afford an attorney, but will tell his story to a judge, he said.
"The bottom line is I never pried it off a sidewalk," Supel said. "I found it in the woods. It was sitting under debris, about 20 yards off into the woods. . .I'm not a thief."