Valve thefts leave buildings without water

FRESNO, Calif.

This week we've seen a few more brass water valves stolen from outside buildings. The thefts are now raising concern among Valley firefighters.

Businesses have resumed operation at "The Loft" in Central Fresno, where the Babylon Club and a tattoo shop operate.

The building's brass water valves have just been replaced. Manager David Evans says thieves stole the valves over the weekend.

"We're down water to a whole building. All the businesses can't open. They can't make money. If they can't make money they don't pay the rent so it's very frustrating," building manager David Evans said.

The on-going thefts could also pose safety problems if Fresno City Fire Department connections are taken along with the brass valves.

"We would definitely be concerned if metal theft affects our connections, where we connect our hoses, our fire department connections. If we start seeing a rise in metal theft of FDC connections that could affect water delivery and it could affect life safety for that property," Sean Johnson of the Fresno Police Department said.

Water valves were also stolen outside the building which houses the non-profit group Exceptional Parents Unlimited.

"There was another valve like this one and what they did is tie a chain to it and pull it out with a truck. Water was gushing out and somebody called the city to shut off the water," maintenance specialist Ruben Tapia said.

The new valves are now protected by a metal cage. Evans is considering something similar.

"I don't know. We could build a cage around it but that's only a deterrent. If they're determined to get to it they'll cut through the cage," Evans said.

Evans says he's just trying to figure out some way to effectively protect his valves.

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