Thieves target fire hydrants, put community safety at risk

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By Kendall Downing

BARGERSVILLE, Ind. - Some fire hydrants in one central Indiana community are out of service. They've become the targets of thieves! It's a case the town's fire marshal said he's never seen before.

Fire officials in Bargersville aren't sure who's taking the caps and why, but the petty theft is putting the safety of the community on the line.

A fire hydrant can be a saving grace, but some along Whiteland Road won't do any saving. They're stripped, the caps gone.

"It is scary," said Kevin Killinger, Bargersville Fire Marshal. "This is probably the first time in 18 years I've been with the fire department that I've seen caps come missing like this."

Killinger said the thefts are alarming. Members of the fire department started reporting the missing caps weeks ago. Now he said three hydrants along Whiteland Road have been targeted, the one large and two small caps on each one disappeared.

He filed a police report.

"If you're missing the smaller caps, the hydrant's out of service essentially, and we're unable to hook into that," said Killinger.

Killinger said the caps protect debris from getting into the hydrant and clogging the water supply. In such a residential area, the thefts are a hazard.

"Just living down the road, someone wouldn't want to risk someone's safety or property just for a prank or something," said Kaddi Gruener, who lives nearby.

Killinger said he doesn't know who could be behind the cap caper, but it serves as a good reminder that the only people to touch a fire hydrant should be the professionals.

"If you see anybody with a fire hydrant that's not in a utility uniform or a fire uniform, certainly call the local authorities," he said.

Replacement caps have been ordered. Killinger said they should be in and installed in the next few days. The replacement parts will cost the utility roughly $1,000.