Illegal water connection probe continues - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Illegal water connection probe continues

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

More arrests are expected in the coming days regarding a probe into illegal water connections in Jackson. 

Public Works Director Kishia Powell says she feels there could be 5 to 7 more arrests by Friday.

The two already arrested are 35-year-old Marcus Banks, charged with felony embezzlement, and 48-year-old Percy Watkins, charged with misdemeanor embezzlement.

"Those individuals, we thought if they were doing this for other folk, they would likely have these devices at their houses," said Powell. "We pulled addresses and did the first person whose house we went to had a straight pipe."

A straight pipe bypasses the meter, allowing customers to get free water.  

Powell says the number of water department workers involved in the free water scheme could be far and wide.

The losses for the city have been monumental; about 10 million dollars in lost water revenues last year alone.

"It does range in the millions. One location had a straight pipe in the ground for seven years on the low estimate was 14 thousand dollars worth of water sewer and sanitation services, because obviously if you're not getting billed for water, you're not paying for sewer or trash pickup," added Powell.

In addition to arrests, city officials say there could be several terminations issued in the coming days for city workers if they had any part in the water thefts.

"The reason why we have been able to do this is this is the first time an arrest has been made is because unless you physically see someone install this it's difficult to have charges stick," said Powell. 

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