ZEPHYRHILLS — A Zephyrhills man was arrested Friday after deputies say he stole $9,000 worth of copper wire from a transformer box, causing soil contamination in the process.
The wire was stolen Dec. 1 from a Progress Energy transformer and also from the Zephyrhills Christian Academy. The damage to the transformer caused a mineral fluid spill, which cost Progress Energy $9,500 to clean up, authorities said.
The truck used during the theft was tracked to Richard Douglas, 25, according to a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report. After he was arrested, Douglas told a deputy that he rented his truck for $300 to someone else, knowing that person would steal the copper. He also said the person gave him another $100 to take the wire to a recycling center.
He was arrested on a charge of first-degree theft and remained in jail Monday afternoon in lieu of $50,000 bail.