Metal thieves are targeting Modesto, Calif., fire hydrants, putting residents at risk and costing the city thousands of dollars.
The Modesto Bee says the thieves turn off the water, remove 10 to 12 large bolts and haul away the 100-pound hydrants. The cast iron hydrants would fetch about 12 cents a pound as scrap.
Authorities are mystified, saying any reputable recycler would immediately notify police if someone showed up with a fire hydrant.
Crews start replacing the missing hydrants on Thursday. The cost could run up to $4,000.
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