SHENANDOAH -- In Montgomery County, geysers erupted in front of several businesses Thursday morning, and authorities say thieves stealing metal are to blame.
All it takes is a thief with a saw or a sledgehammer to revive an annoying and expensive trend, and overnight there were at least six incidents in Shenandoah and Montgomery County.
People after the brass or bronze backflow valves on sprinkler systems hit several businesses along I-45 from FM 1488 South to the county line.
"The bad thing is yeah they get a few bucks, and it's usually a couple people, one person doing it,” said Asst. chief A. Bryan Carlisle, of the Shenandoah Police Department. “The unfortunate thing is not only are the commercial devices expensive, but the cost to repair those things and schedule people to come out is a severe inconvenience for these business owners."
One year ago, a Woodlands fire station was a victim of metal theft. Thieves took a 30-pound brass valve that controlled the station's entire water supply.
The fire chief said repairs cost about $2,000.
Because these thefts keep happening, more and more valves are being locked under cages or chained and locked in place.
Another problem with these brazen brass thefts: striking when the temperature drops.
"These backflow preventers get busted, that water hits the street, and freezes up,” said Carlisle. “It could cause a problem. It's definitely a safety issue. Probably a lot more than most people realize."
Police are visiting local scrap yards to see if they can find any clues there.