MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - A man who served as the Mississippi County Public Water District supervisor was facing multiple felony charges for tampering with the main meter.
Kyle H. Hutcheson of East Prairie, was charged with six felony counts of tampering with a utility meter - second degree. Court records show he pleaded guilty to the two felony charges tampering in second degree on Wednesday, Aug. 15.
He was placed on five years supervised probation. He has to pay court costs of $25.00 within 90 days.
It’s not clear if he is still the water supervisor.
According to court documents, the Mississippi County Public Water District bought water for their rural customers from the city of East Prairie and the city of Charleston. It was Hutcheson’s responsibility to read the East Prairie master meter every month and report the readings to the East Prairie City Collector.
Court documents state two employees under Hutcheson's supervision from July 2010 to January 2018 reported either seeing Hutcheson remove the meter head on several occasions or removed it at Hutcheson's request and gave it to him.
Hutcheson allegedly had a meter rewinder and one employee told investigators he believed Hutcheson was rewinding the East Prairie meter so he would not have to fix multiple water leaks that were in the county and were his responsibility.
The meter head registers gallons of water that pass through the meter from the East Prairie master meter. According to court documents, when Hutcheson allegedly removed it or had it removed, innumerable gallons of water flowing through the meter was not being detected, therefore the city of East Prairie was unable to accurately bill the Mississippi County Public Water District for their usage.
According to court documents, the city of East Prairie was not aware of the meter head being removed until they found it was detached in October 2017. East Prairie immediately changed the lock on the master meter box and started reading the meter themselves.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol investigated.