Local water thief caught wet-handed

Local water thief caught wet-handed

Once plentiful, due to California’s extreme drought status, water has become a hot commodity, and is becoming more and more expensive as utility companies are forced to raise prices and restrict usage.

The Community of Brooktrails Township, in Mendocino County just north of Willits, is feeling the pinch, and has recently restricted residents to limited usage. On Tuesday, August 12, the town announced that residents would be restricted to 200 gallons per day or 6,000 per month, per customer.

Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but the same day the water restrictions were put into place, a Willits man, 39-year-old Kevin Bouthillier, was caught stealing water from fire hydrants in BrookTrails Township and the surrounding county area.

The second hydrant was accessed on Dogwaood Terrace (bottom right).

The second hydrant was accessed on Dogwaood Terrace (bottom right).

Kevin Bouthillier is part of the family that owns Bouthillier Construction, Backhoe Service and the Little Lake Napa Auto Parts in Willits. In 2009 Kevin was recognized for helping the local fire departments conduct a training drill on Main Street in Willits. He was on hand with his backhoe to help conduct the exercise as they torched an abandoned building, and knock down a wall as they finished up.

This time, however, he was in a commercial water truck, the kind used on construction sites to lower dust and loosen soil, and was spotted at 11:00 pm on Goose Lane by Sheriff’s deputies. They grew concerned because of increased water thefts in the area. They located him again on Dogwood Terrace, a little ways northwest of Brooktrails, and this time he was observed with his truck hooked up to a hydrant and filling it with water.

An investigation confirmed that he was taking the water illegally, and he was cited for misdemeanor violation pc 498 – theft of utility services (water). It was not clear if he was taking it for construction site purposes, or hoarding it for other uses such as irrigation. He was released to face later sentencing and/or fines.

Local water thief caught wet-handed was last modified: August 15th, 2014 by admin
Categories: Mendocino

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Ken Kiunke

Ken Kiunke is a northern California writer covering Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma, and Sacramento Counties.