Man, 22, Pleads Not Guilty To Causing Gas Leak In Playa Del Rey

PLAYA DEL REY (CBSLA.com) — A 22-year-old man pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges related to causing a gas leak at a Playa del Rey Southern California Gas Company storage facility.

James Viramonte Cogley was charged with arson, grand theft auto, unlawful taking of a vehicle and vandalism.

On President’s Day, the suspect damaged electrical panels and stole a pickup truck, driving it over a gas valve that caused a natural gas leak at the facility in the 8100 block of Gulana Avenue, according to police.

The suspect’s vehicle was discovered a mile away from the structure. It had crashed against a parked car, said prosecutors.

Cogley was arrested Tuesday after he was discovered being treated for injuries associated with a car crash at a local hospital, authorities said.

Southern California Gas Co. issued a statement that said, in part, “We are reviewing our security protocols and procedures. We’re also enhancing the security at Playa del Rey with additional staff and surveillance cameras,” spokesman Javier Mendoza said.

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(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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