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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Man admits to stealing pipes from Marion County construction site

A 53-year-old man was arrested last week after he allegedly confessed to stealing $1,500 worth of pipes from a construction site in Marion County.

On Friday, March 22, a Marion County Sheriff’s Office corporal responded to the 19800 block of SW 50th Place in Dunnellon in reference to the theft of construction materials, according to the arrest report.

Upon arrival, the corporal made contact with a project manager for the construction company who advised that several pieces of PVC pipes, fittings, and PEX pipes were missing. The manager stated that the stolen materials had been delivered to the incident location the previous morning.

The corporal noted in the report that a sign at the incident location stated, “This area is a designated construction site, and anyone who trespasses on this property commits a felony.”

A witness told the corporal that a man was observed “going through the PVC pipes” at around 10 a.m. on Friday. The report stated that when the witness confronted the man, he allegedly told the witness that he “owned the lot” and “lived down the road.”

According to the witness, the man also had a green John Deere riding lawn mower, though he was not observed loading any construction materials on it.

The corporal responded to a nearby residence on SW 50th Place and made contact with a man identified as Cheeranjee Kalika. After being read his Miranda rights, Kalika initially claimed that he “only stole two small pieces” of pipe, which had already been installed on his air conditioning unit, according to the report.

Cheeranjee Kalika
Cheeranjee Kalika

During a search of Kalika’s residence, the corporal observed several new pieces of PVC pipe, PEX pipe, and fittings. In the report, the corporal noted that Kalika initially claimed that the pipes and fittings were “from a company he was doing jobs for out of Tampa,” though he eventually admitted to stealing the items from the incident location.

During the post-Miranda interview, Kalika claimed that he saw the PVC pipe “laying at the site” for around one week. He stated that he decided to steal it in order to install an irrigation system for his garden, and he further admitted that he transported the materials using his green John Deere lawn mower.

Kalika was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail. He was released the following day after posting a $2,500 bond, and he is being charged with grand theft from a posted construction site.

A court date has not been scheduled yet, according to jail records.