The city of Redlands on Monday Sept. 17 announced the theft of 16 fire hydrants in northwest Redlands.
The estimated cost of replacing the missing hydrants will be $40,000, according to the Redlands Municipal Utilities and Engineering Department staff.
"Even greater than the financial burden may be the public safety risk the thefts represent," Redlands spokesman Carl Baker said. "Because of the lack of water to fight fires and the large area affected, the ability to suppress fires in the area has been severely reduced, causing a significant risk to lives and property."
The thefts occurred between the evening of Sept. 11 and early morning Sept. 12, on West Lugonia Avenue, Research Drive, Almond Avenue and Bryn Mawr Avenue, Baker said.
Many California cities counties and other government agencies are dealing with thefts of hydrants, manhole covers, and backflow devices as the price of scrap metal continues to rise, Baker said.
"Staff from the Redlands Municipal Utilities and Engineering Department estimate the cost in labor and material to replace the 16 stolen hydrants at approximately $40,000," Baker said. "The City is currently working with a contractor to order and install replacement hydrants."
Baker urged the public to call police dispatch at (909) 798-7681 or 911 any time they see anyone other than a uniformed firefighter or city employee working on a fire hydrant, manhole or backflow device, especially at night.
Anonymous tips can be provided by texting 274637 using the keyword "REDTIP."