By Hugh G. Willett,


A Loudon County Sheriff's Office deputy resigned last week after a run-in with Fort Loudoun Electric. Co. over allegedly stealing electricity.


Deputy Dewayne Drinnen, 42, resigned last week after a Lenoir City Utilities Board (LCUB) electric meter was found at his Blount County home on May 23 by representatives of Fort Loudoun Electric Co. and the Blount County Sherrif's Office, according to Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider.


"He had in his possession an extra electric meter that belonged to LCUB," Guider said. "It is my understanding that the LCUB meter had time on it when examined."


Guider said that Drinnen made payment for the time on the meter and was not arrested or charged. Upon notification of the incident by the Blount Sherif's office, however, an internal investigation was begun by the LCSO.


Drinnen, a 17 year veteran of the LCSO, was placed on administrative leave while the internal investigation proceeded but decided to resign last Thursday, Guider said. The interal investigation ended upon Drinnen's resignation, he added.


Drinnen's resignation letter said that he was resigning for personal and business reasons.


One of the questions that the investigators were trying to answer is how Drinnen came into possession of the LCUB electric meter.


"He said he found the meter on the side of the road," Guider explained.


LCUB general manager Fred Nelson confirmed that the meter found in Drinnen's house "was hooked up and had quite a bit of time on it."


"It was a brand new meter and did not come from a house, so we don't know how he got a hold of it," Nelson said. "Our trucks stop for lunch and sometimes things are taken off the trucks, but we really don't know."


Fort Loudoun Electric Co. general manager Bob Long was not available for comment by press time..