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Man pleads guilty to shutting down rural Kansas water system

Boil water advisory issued for Osawatomie
Posted at 12:08 PM, Oct 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-21 13:08:40-04

ELLSWORTH, Kan. — A man has admitted that he shut down a rural central Kansas water system but said he was too intoxicated to remember what happened, prosecutors said.

Wyatt Travnichek, 22, of Ellsworth County, pleaded guilty Wednesday to tampering with a public water system and reckless damage to a public computer during unauthorized access.

Prosecutors said Travnichek used a shared pass code to shut down the Post Rock Rural Water District in Ellsworth, which supplies water to about 1,500 customers in central Kansas.

A spokesperson with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Kansas confirmed the pleading Thursday to KSHB 41 News.

Travnichek worked for the water district for a year before resigning in January 2019.

On March 27, 2019, an operator monitoring the plant found it had been shut down and his remote access was terminated, Kenney said. The operator drove to the plant and found a filter had been turned off and other controls changed.

Investigators identified Travnichek through records showing his phone had logged into the plant remotely.

"The defendant said he was so intoxicated he didn't remember anything" about what happened, Kenney said.

A plea agreement calls for Travnichek to be sentenced to a year in jail.

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