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Water theft cases end with plea, no prosecution
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A felony theft of services charge against a prominent Hinesville contractor appears settled, according to court documents.
The superior court case against Paul B. Krebs Jr., owner of Paul Krebs Construction Co., was not prosecuted, according to documents in the Liberty County Courthouse. Donnie Davis, a former Krebs employee, pled guilt to the charge in state court, court documents say. Davis originally made the allegations against Krebs.
The charges stemmed from an investigation that began in February 2006 when Davis reportedly informed an OMI employee that Krebs had been stealing water and sewer services from locations throughout the city.
In a Feb. 21, 2006, Hinesville Police Department report, which listed Davis as the complainant, he alleged the thefts started as far back as 1979.
The allegations, taken seriously by the HPD, led to more than 20 search warrants into property owned or operated by Krebs and other locations.
Atlantic Judicial Circuit District Attorney Tom Durden initially was assigned the task to review the documents and case. He later recused himself.
Documents filed in the clerk's office show Attorney General Thurbert Baker then assigned the case to the Eastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Spencer Lawton.
According to Easter District Assistant DA Jonathan V. Dunn, who worked the case, Durden's recusal stemmed from being too familiar with many of the parties involved in the case.
Dunn confirmed that a formal accusation was filed with the Superior Court of Liberty County on Dec. 14.
The accusation stated: "Paul Krebs Construction Co., Inc. between the years 1979 and 2006 did knowingly and, with intent to avoid payment, obtain services in excess of $500 to wit: water and sewer utilities from the City of Hinesville."
A court order dated Jan. 15, listing Paul Krebs Construction as the defendant, stated that, "for sufficient cause shown this court, the matter having being resolved by the guilty plea of co-defendant and his assertion that he acted independently, it is hereby ordered that a Nolle Prosequi be entered on all counts of the within accusation against Paul Krebs Const."
The order was signed by Judge David Cavender on Jan. 17.
Dunn said that during the investigation Davis allegedly reported he was told by Krebs and company to route pipes so that water would bypass meters, thus stealing the service. He later retracted that story and said he acted alone.
According to Dunn, Davis pled guilty to a misdemeanor. Initially he was to pay restitution to the city. However, Dunn said restitution in the amount of $31,294.78 was paid to the city by Paul Krebs through his attorney, Billy Jones.
Dunn said the amount was based on a figure provided by the city to Krebs' attorneys.
Davis, whose case was handled in the state court, was able to plead guilty without restitution. He was fined $500 and got a suspended sentence.
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