Drought fueling new criminal activity

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A new kind of theft is taking over the Central Valley and it's forcing some people to protect a common household item.

You've heard of siphoning gas, well how about siphoning water? It's a new trend one hardware store says is making them money.

Manager Kevin Seubert at Fresno Ag Hardware said people are coming in droves to buy locks for their water spigots.

"People are starting to get hit on water theft evidently," said Seubert.

He said sales for this little tool have nearly tripled in just the last month. It's not a new tool. The invention has been around for years but Seubert said up until recently it hasn't been a hot ticket item.

"The water consumption this year is a lot worse than it's ever been," said Seubert.

City council member Clint Olivier said his office hasn't heard of water theft complaints. But just last month the city issued more 1700 citations for overwatering. In Clovis early 5000 customers were hit with fines.

"Anytime an item becomes precious or scarce inevitably there becomes a black market for it," said Olivier.

Back at the hardware store the demand for this piece of metal is so high they've turned to other manufacturers to fill their orders. A sure sign of a hard hitting drought.

A representative from the city of Fresno said the cost of water is actually quite cheap. For 750 gallons it'll only cost you 69 cents. But it's citations you can get for overwatering that can add up.

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