By CHELSEA JENSEN
A former Department of Environmental Management employee pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning to a felony theft charge for allegedly stealing diesel fuel from pumps at the Waimea baseyard.
Billy Joseph Colliado, 42, entered the not guilty plea to one count of second-degree theft before 3rd Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Strance in Kona. He has posted $2,000 bail, which was maintained during the arraignment and plea hearing.
Colliado was ordered to appear before Strance at 8 a.m. Aug. 6 for his jury trial.
Second-degree theft, which involves theft of more than $300 worth of materials, is a Class C felony punishable by up to 5 years incarceration and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Colliado’s charge dates back more than 18 months after county employees, working with police, began a surveillance investigation after an employee tipped off management that two other employees were filling 55-gallon drums with fuel on weekends using gas keys taken from county vehicles.
Warrants were issued for Colliado and another former DEM employee, Donald Wilbur, 40, at the end of April, according to Deputy Prosecutor Mark Disher. The pair had been arrested and released Oct. 29, 2011. Wilbur, who was an equipment operator, and Colliado, a Solid Waste Division facility attendant, were fired from the county that December.
Wilbur and Colliado were each charged with second-degree theft. In addition, Wilbur was charged with three counts of first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, a Class C felony, and three counts of criminal trespass in the second-degree, a petty misdemeanor.
Wilbur is slated to make his initial court appearance at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday before 3rd Circuit Court Chief Judge Ronald Ibarra, according to court records. Wilbur has posted $8,500 bail.
Email Chelsea Jensen at email@example.com.