City officials say stealing water is a crime and police are working to have those skirting the law prosecuted.
City Maintenance Director Brian Thomas said that over the last 18 months or so, there have been at least a dozen residents caught stealing water by breaking locks off secured city water meters.
At times, the culprits are damaging water meters, which are costly to repair or replace.
“It can be $300 and that’s just parts. It doesn’t include two men out there digging it up to replace it,” Thomas said about some of the meters that have been tinkered with and broken lately.
City Police Chief Ray O’Neal said one woman was put in jail last week for stealing water and damaging a meter. She also received a hefty court-ordered restitution sum.
The charge in court is theft of services and can lead to fines, up to a 365 days in jail and restitution costs.
The police chief said anyone caught altering meters in order to gain illegal use of water services will be accordingly charged.