Henry man sought in water-meter theft

By Jason A. Smith


McDonough Police are on the lookout for a local man believed to be responsible for a recent break-in at the city's Water Department.

Authorities say 43-year-old Michael Holland, of McDonough, is behind the theft of hundreds of water meters from the department earlier this month.

Michael Anthony Tarpley, 26, of McDonough, has already been arrested and is charged with theft by receiving in connection with the case.

The alleged theft took place sometime during the evening of July 19 or the morning of July 20, at the McDonough Water Department at 44 Legion Road, police said. According to a police report filed by McDonough Officer William Barnett, approximately 310 meters were taken from a shed in which they had been stored. Several items were also allegedly taken from a tool box in a vehicle at the department.

"It appears that once inside, the subject transferred the meters through a small spacing at the southwest corner of the shed," Barnett wrote in the report.

McDonough Police Chief Preston Dorsey said a hole in a fence at the location, which had previously been repaired, had been cut open by Holland.

The stolen items were valued at $4,650. A witness who notified authorities about the break-in reportedly told police the hole in the fence was large enough for someone to fit through.

Dorsey said Holland had been taking the meters to local scrap-metal dealers, and selling them.

"We've been searching for him diligently for the last couple of weeks, so hopefully we will get him in custody," Dorsey said. "We have recovered some of the water meters through our investigation."

Authorities identified Tarpley as one of the individuals to whom Holland allegedly sold some of the stolen meters. Tarpley was arrested July 22, and taken to the Henry County Jail.

He was released from custody Wednesday, on $7,500 bond but was brought back to the jail Thursday for failure to appear in McDonough Municipal Court in a traffic-related case.

Dorsey said that in addition to Holland's alleged involvement in the burglary case, he is also wanted for a violation of his probation. Anyone with information on Holland's whereabouts is asked to call the McDonough Police Department at (770) 957-1218.