Manatee sheriff: Man steals 7 refrigeration compressors

MANATEE — A 34-year-old Manatee man allegedly stole seven commercial refrigeration compressors, valued at more than $14,000, from a Bradenton shopping center, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies began tracing the first four units back to William Friddle at about 10 p.m. Tuesday night when they found his truck hidden at Manasota Industrial Park, 4700 17th St. E., Bradenton, according to a news release.

Friddle had been seen driving a silver Ford F150 in the area by a witness, his arrest report said.

Deputies found the truck with four compressors in the bed, according to the report. By using the tag number on the truck, deputies arrived shortly before midnight at Friddle’s home.

After being read his rights, Friddle stated he was looking for scrap metal on the dirt path where he found rims and other metal items, the release said. When he discovered his truck wouldn’t start, he walked the train tracks looking for more metal on the way home.

Friddle later took the deputies to where he said he found the compressors two weeks ago and said that he stored them in the woods by his grandmother’s home, the release said. He said he put them in his truck so he could scrap them later.

He confessed to taking three other units Monday and selling the items for $185, according to deputies. Friddle faces charges of grand theft and was released from Manatee County jail Wednesday on a $9,500 bond.