by: Linda Stouffer Updated:GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. —
A Gwinnett County man is accused of using a fire hydrant to fill his pool.
According to a county police report, an officer found Thomas Prater’s garden hose hooked up to a fire hydrant on Five Forks Trickum Road to take water to his backyard swimming pool. Prater was charged with theft, but he told Channel 2’s Linda Stouffer on Monday that he’s not a water bandit.
“I kept saying, ‘Where is it hooked onto?’ I said, ‘My water thing is right there,’” Prater told Stouffer.
Prater showed Stouffer his separate irrigation connection and said in the dark, the officer confused where the hose was connected. He plans to fight the charge to clear his name.
“You take a polygraph. I'll take a polygraph. We're going to see who is telling the damn truth,” Prater said.
Gwinnett police spokesman Ed Ritter told Stouffer, “He can fight that in court. It was a fire hydrant, and he didn't have authority to take any water from that hydrant and it is theft.”
Ritter said Prater even initially admitted to using the hydrant.
“He claimed that he was tired of paying large water bills and decided to utilize the fire hydrant, knowing he wouldn't have to pay for it. He's paying for it now,” Ritter said.
Prater denies saying that and told Stouffer, “I’m going to take him to court. I’m going to fight it in court.”
County officials said the water department inspected the hydrant and there was no damage.