Columbia, S.C. firefighters say at least a dozen Richland County hydrants have been vandalized by thieves seeking brass, leaving them not working.
Deputy Chief Aubrey Jenkins says the thieves are taking the operating nuts and stems of the hydrants, which are needed to turn the water on.
Authorities say the suspects are likely selling the brass parts.
Officials say there are about 10,000 fire hydrants in Richland County, making it impossible to check each one for damage.
Jenkins says his biggest fear is firefighters not realizing they have a damaged hydrant until they need the water to fight a blaze.
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