Attempted Arson Alleged in Gas Leak Case

Neighbors reported a hissing sound after what appeared to be an act of vandalism, police said

By Jason Kandel
|  Thursday, Feb 20, 2014  |  Updated 9:42 PM PDT
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A 22-year-old man was charged in connection with running over a gas valve in Playa Del Rey, causing a gas leak in the city. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014.

Kim Baldonado/ Christopher Li

A 22-year-old man was charged in connection with running over a gas valve in Playa Del Rey, causing a gas leak in the city. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014.

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Driver Sought in Playa del Rey Gas Leak

The Southern California Gas Company on Monday was trying to track down a contractor who may have caused a gas leak at a storage facility in Playa del Rey. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Playa del Rey for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Feb. 17, 2014.

Truck Driver Sought in SoCal Gas Leak

Authorities want to speak with the driver of a truck found at the site of a SoCal Gas leak. Jacob Rascon reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Monday Feb. 17, 2014.
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A 22-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to charges connected to a natural gas leak caused when he allegedly entered a gas yard and ruptured a valve with a maintenance truck, prosecutors said Thursday.

James Viramonte Cogley, 22, allegedly entered a Southern California Gas Company facility in Playa del Rey on President's Day, police said.

He allegedly drove a maintenance truck over a gas valve, before stealing a pick-up truck and disappearing, prosecutors said.

Police found the pick-up truck about a mile away where it had crashed into a parked car, officials said.

Cogley faces one count each of attempted arson, grand theft auto, unlawful taking of a vehicle, and vandalism over $400.

The gas leak prompted call-out by firefighters and a hazardous materials team and woke several neighbors, who reported a hissing sound coming from the plant.

Police found the pick-up truck about a mile away where it had crashed into a parked car, officials said.

Cogley faces one count each of attempted arson, grand theft auto, unlawful taking of a vehicle, and vandalism over $400.

In a statement, a SoCal Gas spokesman said company officials are reviewing security protocols and "enhancing the security at Playa del Rey with additional staff and surveillance cameras."

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