As the theft of treated water in Letcher County has become more common, prosecution has been stepped up in the county as well as in the City of Whitesburg.
Letcher County Attorney Jamie Hatton recently announced the prosecution of several individuals during a meeting of the board of directors of the Letcher County Water and Sewer District. Those are Daniel Eldridge of Adams Branch in Jeremiah, Daniel Josh Eldridge also of Adams Branch and Amanda Gilbert of Winston Drive. All three were prosecuted for theft of services and third-degree criminal mischief.
Whitesburg Mayor James Wiley Craft announced that the city is also prosecuting those who steal the city’s services. In response to a question at the August meeting about unpaid water bills in Whitesburg and the allegation that some people are bypassing meters, Craft told Dr. John Pellegrini the city is actively prosecuting water thieves and said he will not stand for the theft of services from the city.
“We put a man in prison two months ago,” said Craft. “We put them in jail when we catch them. It’s pure theft. We have three in jail over that. We do not take it lightly.”
Officials say that Billy Wayne Spangler and his wife Denise Spangler were both sentenced to one year in jail, and that Johnny Mac Caudill received five years’ probation for stealing water from the city.
Whitesburg Police Chief Tyrone Fields said that Caudill was prosecuted when Phillip Slone was the city’s police chief. Slone now serves as a Letcher County Ranger. Fields said he had investigated the Spanglers and assisted in their prosecution.