Thieves steal fire caps and plugs from buildings

Palo Alto buildings are targets for metal thieves, fire officials say

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.

Sue Dremann

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Like this comment
Posted by Dennis
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 18, 2011 at 10:20 am

Despicable. Some people just seem to gravitate towards acting with contempt for anyone else.

Like this comment
Posted by Ms PGK
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 18, 2011 at 10:48 am

If we could only find a way to have re-cyclers easily able to verify stolen vs. reclaimed construction fittings & wire, this whole problem would disappear. Personally know of police being called by one recycler we go to when a truck arrived with piles of copper wire, so the legitmate recyclers do try to protect us. One would think, though, that when such a theft is reported overnight, all recyclers would be less willing to take anything without some certification as to where it came from.

Like this comment
Posted by Old Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 18, 2011 at 11:09 am

While cops sit on Embarcadero and other speed traps handing out $400 tickets for going over the ridiculous 25MPH speed limit, thieves rob homes, store, buildings, basically loot the city. The PAPD should be ashamed of itself. I guess there's no money for the city in catching real criminals.

Like this comment
Posted by verify
a resident of Southgate
on Aug 18, 2011 at 11:13 am

truth will come out when the time comes.

Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 18, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Have recyclers take a photo of anyone selling scrap.

Like this comment
Posted by Andrew
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 18, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Replace the critical plumbing pieces with composite plastics...end of story.

Like this comment
Posted by CC
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Get the camera's ready people!

Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 18, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Walter has a great idea -
Simitian's office should put forward a bill which requires all recyclers of metals to run "client's" driver's license and record their vehicle license number along with the details of the materials brought in. Then there should be a 10 day waiting period before the "client" is paid during which time the police run the data against theft records.

Lastly there should be major penalties for both the thieves and the recyclers who accept stolen materials. Double penalties for any health and safety items stolen and accepted.

Like this comment
Posted by Hee hee
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Sounds like Old Palo Alto got a ticket! Time to slow down friend.

Like this comment
Posted by Know the facts
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2011 at 1:02 pm

@Walter and @Bob-
There already is a metal theft law in place in California, AB844, enacted in 2008. It requires the very things you talk about for metal recycling transactions: ID's, thumbprints, waiting period for payment, etc. The problem is that there are many unscrupulous metal recyclers that ignore the requirements, and there isn't enough money to properly enforce the law.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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