SPRING HILL - A Southwest Florida Water Management District employee was arrested Wednesday night and later charged with multiple counts of grand theft, dealing in stolen property and defrauding a pawn dealer.
Tyler Warren Scotland, 28, who worked in the district's Information Technology Department, was pulled over in his vehicle in the area of Libby Road and Everett Avenue. Hernando County sheriff's officials reported finding three syringes and a spoon beneath the driver's seat that tested positive for opiates.
"He advised the deputies that he used to have an addiction to Dilaudid, and used to inject it," Public Information Officer Denise Moloney wrote in a news release.
Scotland told deputies he didn't know the items were in his vehicle, and that he last used drugs in April.
He was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
A database query showed a high volume of pawn activity recently conducted by Scotland, sheriff's officials said, and investigators reported more than 20 recent pawns at a local pawn shop involving laptop computers.
Scotland was questioned about the pawn activity, and told deputies he "works with computers and just buys and sells them for money because he is having hard times," deputies said.
Scotland told deputies he worked in the Information Technology Department at Southwest Florida Water Management District, and has been employed there since 2008.
Deputies contacted district officials Thursday and learned the pawned computers belonged to the district.
Deputies recovered 14 of the laptop computers, and accused Scotland of collecting $3,200 for the transactions in recent weeks.
According to deputies: Between July and the middle of this month, Scotland stole Dell laptops from his employer, with a total of 23 transactions noted in pawn records.
The value of each computer is listed at $1,500, making the total recovered property valued at $21,000.
Scotland was charged with 23 counts of grand theft, dealing in stolen property, and 14 counts of defrauding a pawnbroker. He was being held at the Hernando County Jail in lieu of $300,000 bail.