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Calif. fire depts. suffer $50,000 of hydrant damage in last month

The southern Calif. departments are urging the public to help them report these crimes

IMPERIAL VALLEY, Calif. — Some southern Calif. fire departments are asking for the public's help in reporting hydrant-related crimes after a rash of vandalism and stealing.

In the last month, at least two dozen fire hydrants have been shut off and have had parts stolen from it, racking up a $50,000 bill in damages, according to Imperial Valley Press.

Officials say that demand for scrap metal may be the motive behind the thefts. Those who have been stealing first shut off portions of the city's water supply, dismantle the hydrants and then take the scrap metal and resell it.

The danger of these types of offenses, authorities say, is that hydrants are rendered unusable and will not be available for firefighters to use in emergencies.

Those convicted of the crimes may face felony conviction and a prison term of three years.

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