Metal thieves who have been stealing copper pipes, wire and brass fittings are targeting fire-department connections on Palo Alto buildings, a fire official said this week.
Brass and stainless steel caps and plugs that cover inlets to sprinkler systems -- some that are attached with chains -- are being taken from the buildings, Acting Battalion Chief Doug Conn said. The inlets are used for inserting fire-department hoses that pump water into sprinkler systems during fires.
The inlets, which are pipes that project from the outside of buildings, can get clogged with debris, dirt and dust and block the water, hampering firefighting, he said.
The thieves have been working their way down the Peninsula through cities. Two thefts have occurred so far in Palo Alto, Conn said.
Building owners should be vigilant and regularly check and replace any stolen parts, he said.