SRP water pumps throughout the East Valley are being vandalized at an alarming rate, and a reward of up to $6,000 now is being offered for information that can lead to the arrest of the person responsible for the damage and an assault on an SRP worker.
Since January, there have been 24 cases of vandalism to SRP water pumps throughout the Valley, causing $50,000 in damage after someone has removed the locks off gates or climbed fences to gain access to the pumps. The damage is done after someone cuts the oil line that lubricates the pump’s electric motor or simply removes the line, according to Roger Clay, an SRP investigator.
Of the 24 pumps, 19 have been damaged throughout the East Valley including six in Mesa of a corridor along Guadalupe Road between Loop 101 and Lindsay Road, according to Clay. About 5:30 a.m. on Feb. 22, a female SRP worker was attacked by someone after checking the water flow in a canal near a cul-de-sac on Thomas and Val Vista roads in Mesa when she noticed a gate was open to part of the SRP property, according to Clay.
However, there are no suspects for the crimes at this time.
“Because of the same crimes being repeated in the same way, we believe it’s the same person,” Clay said. “It appears to be someone who knows what they’re doing, and it could be more than one person. Our real concern is losing one of the pumps. If one of the pumps were turned on without the oil line operating, the motor can burn up and could cause about $50,000 in damage.”
The pumps are for ground wells that provide water to SRP customers, but have not been turned on since last summer. In the past several months, there has been enough rain for customers that there hasn’t been a need for water to be drawn from the canals, only the SRP reservoirs, Clay said.
Clay said water pumps have been vandalized in the past so thieves could steal the copper wiring from them and sell it for scrap, but this is not the case this year.
“This is just vandalism,” Clay said.
If the person is caught, he or she will face charges of criminal damage and assault.
The most recent incident was reported on March 2 when a water pump was discovered vandalized at 75th and Maryland avenues, Clay said.
Anyone with information that can lead to the arrest of those responsible should call Silent Witness at (480) 948-6377 or 1-800-343-8477.