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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Hot Springs bath tub thief gets a year in federal lockup

Posted By on Tue, May 13, 2014 at 1:39 PM

From Hot Springs National Park comes news of a year-long investigation that led to a conviction and one-year sentence of a man who stole five stainless steel bathtubs from Hot Springs bathhouses to sell as scrap.

The National Park Service reported that Paul Watt, 26, pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay $3,500 restitution in addition to serving 12 months. The tubs were taken in a break-in May 1, 2012 at a maintenance facility. Park rangers recovered the stolen tubs, which had been sold for $700 to a local scrap yard. The tubs had been damaged with a torch and broken down.

After a year of investigation, which included reviews of bank records, video surveillance and witness testimony, Ranger Zach Summerlin took the case to the U.S. attorney. It included evidence that Watt had tried to repay the scrap yard for its loss to cover up the theft and that he'd conspired with a 16-year-old to falsely implicate someone else.

The tubs, because of their "unique historic nature," had a replacement value of $15,000, the Park Service said. It wasn't the first tub caper in the Spa. Two men were convicted in 2011 in the theft of three tubs. 

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