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Nearly $20,000 in brass fixtures and copper piping stolen in SCV

In four seperate incidents across the Santa Clarita Valley, thieves have taken brass fixtures and co

Posted: March 17, 2013 9:17 p.m.
Updated: March 17, 2013 9:17 p.m.


Metal thieves have ripped up — and ripped off — close to $20,000 worth of brass fixtures and copper piping from at least four local businesses so far this month, local sheriff’s deputies report.

In the latest series of metal thefts — following reports of thieves stealing brass vases from grave sites and snipping power lines for valuable copper — thieves have set their sights on water irrigation systems.

“They’re still investigating,” said Lt. Tom Bryski of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station when asked about the four thefts reported.

“Ever since the price of copper went up it (copper stealing trend) has been fairly common.”

In one case, employees of a Stevenson Ranch grocery store found a 15-foot water gusher shooting out of the ground behind their store only to discover thieves had cut through the store’s irrigation system, according to one of four reports filed in the incident report log at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

On March 10, about 4 p.m., deputies were called to the Ralph’s store on Pico Canyon Road in Stevenson Ranch after store employees noticed copper piping missing from the water irrigation system installed behind the store.

The stolen copper pipes and the irrigation system’s “back flow water valves” were valued at $3,000.

“Persons unknown stole the copper pipes with back flow water valves from the rear area of the store,” a sheriff’s deputy wrote in his report of the incident.

“An employee told (the manager) that the store did not have water,” the deputy wrote. “When the informant went out behind the store, he observed water shooting 15 feet in the air. the informant saw the pipes were cut from the main water line.”

In each of the four cases of stolen irrigation pipes, the businesses told investigators no security cameras were in place.

Sometime between 5:30 p.m. March 8 and 7 a.m. March 10, thieves cut three water main lines, stealing six feet of copper pipe valued at $1,000 and three brass pressure regulator valves also valued at $1,000, deputies reported.

The theft occurred behind Allen E. Seward Engineering on Smyth Drive in Valencia, according to the sheriff’s log.

Deputies said they talked to an employee of the Smyth Business Plaza Association who told them the thieves “cut three water main lines leading to their building.”

In the biggest single theft, thieves reportedly backed a truck up to a construction site and stole an entire pallet of copper piping valued at $13,000, deputies reported.

On March 6, between 2 and 4 p.m., a pallet containing 13 back flow copper and brass prefab units where temporarily being stored in the garage at the construction site, deputies wrote.

A foreman who called to report the theft told investigators: “Whoever took the items used a truck and backed it into the garage.”

The foreman also told them that back flow copper units are “very heavy pieces.”

In a fourth incident, still being investigated by deputies, metal thieves cut the irrigation system behind a business on Anza Drive in Valencia and stole $1,200 worth of copper pipe used in a back flow water irrigation system, deputies reported.

“I saw that copper pipe back flow water irrigation system had been cut with an unknown object and removed,” the deputy wrote.


on Twitter @jamesarthurholt


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