A 22-year-old man was charged Thursday with four felony counts, including attempted arson and grand theft auto, related to a natural gas leak earlier this week at a storage facility in Playa del Rey.
James Viramonte Cogley of the west Los Angeles area pleaded not guilty to one count each of attempted arson, grand theft auto, unlawful taking of a vehicle and vandalism in excess of $400, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said.
Prosecutors allege that Cogley entered the
The truck was discovered with its engine running on top of the valve. A
"The damage done to the electrical panels indicated he was attempting to set them on fire," district attorney spokesman Ricardo Santiago said.
Cogley then allegedly stole a pickup truck and left the facility. The pickup truck was discovered about a mile away, where it had crashed against a parked car, prosecutors said.
Cogley was not affiliated with the utility, Santiago said.
A representative for the gas company had initially said the leak was caused by a contractor's truck.
Cogley faces up to five years in county jail or prison, officials said. He has posted $200,000 bail.