Paso Robles man arrested for vandalism and arson

February 21, 2014

handcuffA 22-year-old Paso Robles man has been arrested for allegedly breaking into a Playa del Rey gas storage facility and causing a gas leak on Monday. [ABC7]

Shortly after midnight, James Viramontez Cogley allegedly entered the SoCal Gas storage facility and climbed into a commercial truck. He then drove the truck over a protective lid which caused a valve to rupture and a release of natural gas.

FBI officials, Los Angeles police, fire crews and the bomb squad responded to the scene, shutting the gas off around 3:50 a.m. Investigators found Cogley at a hospital where he was being treated for injuries consistent with being involved in multiple traffic collisions. Evidence at the scene also linked Cogley to the break-in.

Officers arrested Cogley on charges of grand theft auto, felony vandalism and attempted arson with bail set at $100,000.


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Attempted arson is an “under charge” for now. Sounds like botched terrorism: That facility compresses natural gas for underground storage in shoreline mudflats which are very amenable to short term storage and rapid withdrawl of natural gas. There are no above ground tanks. Pressure is involved. This is likely a case of domestic terrorism aimed at vital infrastructure, to wit: That gas is available WEST of the Rockies and during our Calif ISO system “flex alert” electricity crisis last week, it COULD have fueled upgraded steam turbine plants at El Segundo, Scattergood/Playa Del Rey, crude oil processing at Chevron El Segundo, steam plants at Oxnard, Redondo and Morro Bay. He meant to do significant damage to infrastructure. Give him “the chair”.

But, oh, what’s that? The locals worked to shutter Redondo and Morro Bay turbine electric peaking plants? Sorry, never mind……….