Stealing from a fire hydrant

Normally, thieves steal from places like banks, storefronts or houses. But what happens when somebody steals from a fire hydrant?

The police of Qingpu District in Shanghai received a complaint from Qingpu Water Supply Company that something fishy might be going on — the usage of a particular fire hydrant on the intersection of Xinfengzhong Road and Huanong Road had been spiking, and they suspected theft.

So on July 17th, the police waited to ambush the thieves, and at 3 o’clock a.m. found three men siphoning off water from the hydrant. All three people, plus a fourth that they worked for, were arrested.

An investigation revealed the purpose and the incredible extent of the water theft: Since late 2017, the group of men had come to the hydrant over 100 times, each time stealing between 200kg and 300kg of water, for a total of 80 tons of water.

Why? Who would ever need that much water? Shanghai police found that the group ran a seafood store at a local market, and were seeking to avoid the lines and fees associated with getting water at the market itself.