Former Douglas County Commissioner candidate Victor Petrucci has pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary as part of a plea deal reached with the Douglas County District Attorney.
Petrucci had been in a long-running battle against Douglas County government based on his allegations that leachate was pouring into a creek onto his property located downhill from the county landfill.
The burglary charge stems from a January incident in which he was accused of damaging an air conditioner while placing audio devices at the county’s solid waste department office on Chewaucan Lane in Roseburg. Two additional charges, illegal interception of communications and second-degree criminal mischief, were dropped under the plea deal.
The plea deal calls for Petrucci to receive 18 months probation and pay $142 in restitution. It also includes a stipulation that Petrucci will not enter onto the landfill property or fly drones over it. A separate criminal charge, for allegedly trespassing onto landfill property in April, has been dismissed as part of the agreement. Upon successful completion of probation, the burglary count will be dropped from a felony to a misdemeanor. The plea statement and order was filed in Douglas County Circuit Court Aug. 27.
Petrucci previously told The News-Review that the incident involving the audio devices was his effort to get to the truth about what he said was the county’s pollution problem. He said he was acting in the public interest.
County officials said Petrucci’s allegations that leachate is pouring onto his property are false. According to county officials there was a brief leachate spill in 2017, following the failure of a pump combined with heavy rains. They said the problem was quickly corrected.
The county used to collect its leachate in a series of treatment ponds, which were vulnerable to overflowing during heavy rains, but currently, it pumps its leachate into a large holding tank, then offloads it to trucks which transport for treatment by the Winston/Green Sanitary District.
Petrucci has said the April incident occurred while he and a surveyor were attempting to determine where the line is between his property and the county’s landfill property. He asserted he was on his own property when he was cited and released for trespass. In an April interview, the surveyor corroborated that he was surveying the property line at the time.
Petrucci was one of four candidates to unsuccessfully challenge Commissioner Tim Freeman in the May election. Petrucci garnered 4.59 percent of the vote in that race.
Petrucci did not return a call seeking comment Monday.