Saluda customer criminally charged for stealing city water

Published 10:55 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2016

By Leah Justice

The City of Saluda turned in a resident last month for stealing water as well as a neighbor’s water meter.

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Joel Hammel faces charges in Henderson County for reconnect utility, misdemeanor larceny and possession of stolen goods, according to the Henderson County courts.

Hammel was supposed to appear in Henderson County District Court last Friday, April 29 to face his charges, but did not show, according to Saluda officials.

Saluda City Manager Jon Cannon said the city discovered a meter running that wasn’t supposed to be turned on in the Lake Summit area earlier this year. The city shut off the meter and told the resident to come into city hall to handle the situation, but Hammel did not come in. Cannon said Hammel turned the meter back on so the city shut it off again and then turned off the meter. Cannon said then the resident bypassed to continue to take water so the city pulled that out. Hammel was later accused of stealing his neighbor’s meter, according to Cannon. That is when the city had Hammel arrested by the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office in March.

There is currently a warrant for Hammel’s arrest for not showing up to court last week.

Cannon said the city does digital reading of its meters. He said the first time Hammel was discovered as stealing water was in February, when the city first shut the water off and the city went back in March, so Hammel likely stole a month to a month and a half worth of water.