Scrap Metal Thieves Grab Fire Hydrants in California

October 16, 2013

Scrap metal thieves have grabbed a pair of fire hydrants from the streets of Irvine.

Though it’s still a rare crime in the Orange County city, it’s the second time in three weeks that hydrants were unbolted.

The Orange County Register reports that hydrants can fetch more than $300 at recycling yards.

Many cities have been hit by thieves eager to take advantage of relatively high metal prices.

In response, the state passed laws making it illegal for junk dealers and recyclers to possess municipal metal such as hydrants and manhole covers.

Removing a hydrant isn’t easy – failure to turn off the water could unleash a geyser 100 feet tall.

The hydrants were reported stolen Oct. 10; another three hydrants were reported stolen Sept. 19.

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