On 09-19-2014, at approximately 9:00 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a citizen who wanted to report a water theft. The citizen told the dispatcher over $1,500.00 of water was stolen from a residence they owned.
A deputy contacted the homeowner by telephone, who told the deputy she and her husband owned a summer home in Shelter Cove in the 700 block of Spring Road, Shelter Cove. The homeowner told the deputy between July 29, 2014 and August 28, 2014 someone stole 146,802 gallons of water ( 20,000 cu feet) from their residence. The homeowner had received a call from the water company, the Shelter Cove Resort Improvement District, who informed them their water usage was abnormal. The homeowner who lives in Sonoma County had not been at the residence since June 2014.
The homeowner requested the water district check their residence for leaks or breaks in the water line, and to make sure the water meter was correct. The district checked the meter and residence and determined it was all in good working order.
The investigating deputy spoke with a neighbor who reported seeing a water trucks in the area. A spokesman with the water district reported they have had other water thefts from vacant summer homes, but not to this extent. They have also had thefts from hydrants. The spokesman said the water stolen in this case was approximately enough water to sustain a family of four for two years.
No suspect(s) have been identified at this time, the investigation is ongoing. The value of the water stolen is $1,513.21.
The Sheriff’s Office and water district would like to remind the public that due to the drought, water thefts are increasing in frequency. Absentee homeowners should have neighbors watching their residence and take steps to prevent theft of water.
Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.