A Dallas Meter Reader Was Arrested Yesterday for Shaking Down a Homeowner

Categories: City Hall, Crime

Dallas County Sheriff's Office
Tavarius Spencer
For at least part of the day yesterday, the house at 2818 Marjorie Ave. in East Oak Cliff was without running water, which the city had turned off for non-payment. At 3:30 p.m. Tavarius Spencer, a Dallas Water Utilities meter reader with several years' experience, showed up to turn it back on.

He wasn't supposed to. According to a Dallas police report, Spencer accepted $100 for the service. It seems from the report that this was more of a shakedown than a freely given bribe, but it's not completely clear. What is clear that such behavior is frowned upon. Police arrested Spencer about 10 minutes after he turned the water on. He was taken to jail on a misdemeanor charge of abusing an official position and was released overnight on a $500 bond.

I'm checking with the city on his current employment status. If he still does have a job, here's betting he won't for long. (Update on November 14: Per city spokesman Frank Librio, he's been placed on administrative leave.)

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everlastingphelps topcommenter

Putting the victim's address on blast as a late pay seems a little crass.  Don't think that had to be prominent in the first line.


My concern is that the City usually puts these people on "paid administrative leave" with full benefits until the case is resolved.  That means basically a paid vacation.  He will get paid just like someone who is working 40 hrs./week in DWU, but he can go play golf, go fishing, hang out at the beach, etc.  One Dallas police employee was on "paid leave" for 2 years, until her case finally went to court after multiple reschedulings.  She received 2 years salary for no work, and then was found guilty of embezzling $250,000 when she went to court. 


I think the City should put people on "leave without pay" until they go to court.  Then, if they are found innocent, they can receive their back pay.


Good article.  Good reporting.  Good photo.  I don't believe this was in the Dallas Morning News.  I hope other DWU customers come out of the woodwork when they see his photo and tell more stories of being scammed by this guy.


I wonder how many months of non-payment it took for them to turn it off.  My bill stopped showing up 6 months after I moved into my current residence.  Somehow it was being sent to my previous address, a Deep Ellum loft at which I had never had service through the city.  81 months later, my water was turned off.  That's right.  6 years and 9 months later, they turned off my water.  I would have taken the under on that, personally.

JimSX topcommenter

Well, damn. I thought standing in my alley waving a twenty and a six-pack was just a way to show my appreciation.  It's getting to where you just about can't leave the house any more without breaking some damn law.  

Montemalone topcommenter

Homeowner not too bright.

All you need is a wrench.

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