This story was related to me second hand, but there is little doubt that it happened as told.
It was well after midnight at the healing place (my last assignment for you newer readers) The fire captain was asleep in his dorm. He awoke to the sound of a vehicle pulling into the driveway, but it did not cause him enough concern to complete his awakening and look through the window to see what was going on. Vehicles stopping in front of the station are not that uncommon, despite the late hour.
It only took a few moments for his awakening to be completed in a most rude fashion. To him, it sounded like a car had smashed into the station, not too far from where he lay. The noise was accompanied by a sharp jolt, one which shook the building. He jumped to his feet and peered out of the window. He just caught the image of a red SUV pulling away from the driveway and down the road before opening the door and rousing the rest of the crew. He also managed to get a call in to dispatch before heading outside. It was then that he realized the station had not been hit by the vehicle, but that the vehicle had been used to tear a large anti-back flow manifold away from the building.
The captain relayed the updated information to dispatch just as the red SUV came back and started to pull back into the station driveway. (maybe to pick up the manifold?) When the driver saw the crew examining the damage, he changed his mind and sped down the wrong side of the divided boulevard.
P.D. arrived a few moments later. The crews gave the officer a vehicle description and direction of travel. As luck would have it, a second officer was parked in the lot of a burger joint a few miles away. He spotted the vehicle and made the stop. Evidence of metal theft was found in the car and the driver was soaking wet. Game over dude.
It takes real balls to hook a strap to the back end of your Suburban, back up to an occupied fire station, hook the other end of the strap to a copper and brass plumbing fixture, then haul ass. Maybe he thought that he would get the device loaded and be gone before anyone could react. Maybe his plan just wasn't sound or maybe fate just reared it's ugly head. Maybe, that monstrosity of the anti-back flow manifold and it's bajillion pounds of copper and brass was just too juicy of a target to pass up - despite the risk.
Either way, the miscreant got caught. He reportedly plead guilty to a minor charge and is already out. He is probably going to lose his car over it, the impound and storage fees are far more than it's worth.
Metal theft is a continuing problem in the vicinity of the healing place. Fire hydrants, anti-back flow valves and other exposed plumbing fixtures are stolen all of the time. I have been returning from late night calls and come across water shooting into the street, the result of stolen anti-back flow valves. One of the latest tricks, is to take a saws-all and cut off the exposed brass OS&Y valve stems on fire sprinkler control valves. It only takes a few seconds and some of the large warehouses have more than five of them.
Maybe, just maybe the arrest of this ballsy idiot will slow down the theft of metal in the area. Somehow, I doubt it.
Thanks for reading,