SANTA CLARA – Local authorities are asking the public for help because the City of Santa Clara Water and Sewer Department has experienced approximately forty thefts of water meter and/or back-flow regulators. It is thought that a handful of people have stolen the meters to sell as scrap metal. According to the Santa Clara Police Department, “the unknown suspect(s) remove the cover, shut off the valve and use a pipe cutter to cut off the devices.”
According to authorities, the water meters measure the volume of water passing through the supply pipe, and a back-flow valve protects drinking water from possible contamination. The damage caused by the thieves is estimated to be more than $50,000 as a result of these thefts. Once thieves removed these devices, water services were stopped to local businesses, since the removal of these devices also interrupts water service to the property. It has also caused water damage as water was left streaming from the pipes, and hundreds of gallons of water were lost.
According to the Santa Clara Police Department, “There are two potential suspect vehicles associated with these thefts: a white older style panel van with a black stripe running between the wheel wells on each side of the vehicle, and a 1991 black Chevy Blazer. The Chevy was stolen and has since been recovered in Santa Clara.”
The City of Santa Clara is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect(s). The Santa Clara PD is asking that if anyone observes someone tampering with a water meter or back-flow valve that they please call 9-1-1- immediately. The department is also asking that if anyone is aware of person(s) selling items resembling the meter and backflow devices to contact the Santa Clara Police Department’s non-emergency phone at (408) 615-5580.