Twice? Construction Company Alleged to Have Stolen Water in Miranda Was Previously Caught in Garberville Doing the Same Thing
Early on Monday, a truck driver working for Myers and Sons Construction hooked up to a hydrant in Miranda and filled his truck with stolen water, alleged Jason Saloman, Director of the Miranda Community Service District. When confronted, Saloman said, the employees of Myers said Caltrans gave them permission which was false. And, several sources confirm, this is not the first time they’ve filled a truck with a small town’s water without the knowledge of the water district involved. Multiple people stated the company was responsible for taking water from one of the fire hydrants in Garberville two years ago and also attempting to blame Caltrans.
Lucy Kostrzewa, a resident engineer at Caltrans, confirmed that Myers and Sons was involved in taking water from the Garberville Sanitary District previously. Calling the recent incident “unacceptable,” she said she was in charge of a job that Myers and Sons Construction was working on. “The very same thing happened two years ago. I found out from the Garberville Water District, [a water truck under direction from Myers and Sons Construction] had hooked up to a hydrant by Napa Auto Parts.” Kostrzewa said that when confronted by a local, the employees of Myers “tried to say that Caltrans had given them permission to draw water.”
The resident engineer said, at the time, she had met with their manager and the involved employees and reiterated that they were not allowed to take water from the towns. She said she told them that Humboldt is in the midst of a drought and that the communities are concerned about water usage. Then, she said she confronted them at the time about telling others that Caltrans gave them permission to take the water. She says that they admitted that they knew that Caltrans did not tell them they could use it.
When she heard about the alleged theft yesterday, Kostrzewa said she was unhappy. “It irked me because this occurred years ago.”
According to Tina Stillwell, business manager at the Garberville Sanitary District, when the incident happened with water being taken from them, Myers and Sons Construction wasn’t charged legally nor did they pay for the stolen water which was estimated to be about 1500 gallons. “We just asked them to stop and they did. We did not get reimbursed and we didn’t pursue it,” she said.
So What Are the Consequences to the Company and Its Employees Now?
The employees of Myers and Son Construction involved in the incident in Miranda on Monday no longer are working with Caltrans. “The individuals responsible for [this] incident were removed from the job. They broke the law, so our only action was to remove them from the project and let the contractor who’s in charge deal with them in whatever manner they choose,” said Myles Cochrane, a spokesperson for Caltrans.
Lt. Wayne Hanson of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office says the alleged water removal is being charged as “Grand Theft.”
“We are planning on pursuing legal actions against them at this point,” stated Jason Saloman, Director of the Miranda Community Service District. “These water thefts in the past have caused problems. [One thief last summer] shut down the hydrant too fast. It blew out the main lines below our tanks and it shut down our town for a couple days.”
Saloman wonders, “How many times have they got away with this before? I think this might be a regular practice of theirs.”
Note: Though Clint Myers left a message on our phone early Tuesday, several attempts to reach him for comment later in the day, went unanswered.