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Playa del Rey gas company break-in: Paso Robles man arrested

Investigators respond to the scene of a natural gas leak at a storage facility on the 7800 block of Veragua Drive in Playa Del Rey Monday, Feb. 17, 2014.

February 17, 2014 2:28:07 PM PST
Police arrested a Paso Robles man Tuesday for breaking into a SoCal Gas storage facility in Playa del Rey and causing damage.

The intruder broke into the facility, got into a commercial truck on site and drove it over a protective lid, causing a valve to rupture and an unplanned release of natural gas. The incident occurred at a Southern California Gas company storage facility on the 7000 block of Veragua Drive around 12:15 a.m. Monday.

Investigators following up on a lead located 22-year-old Paso Robles resident James Viramontez Cogley at a hospital. Cogley was being treated for injuries consistent with being involved in multiple traffic collisions, linked with evidence left at the numerous crime scenes, according to the LAPD.

Cogley was arrested for grand theft auto and felony vandalism on Tuesday. On Thursday the District Attorney's Office added attempted arson and auto theft to the charges. Cogley was held on $100,000 bail.

Los Angeles police, fire crews and FBI officials responded to the scene, shutting the gas off around 3:50 a.m. Monday. A bomb squad was also brought in to determine whether any other wells were tampered with.

An LAPD fire chief told Eyewitness News that the valve was a high pressure line and that the truck was found running and parked over the leak.

It was a year ago in January when gas exploded in the same area.


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