MANATEE -- About 18 months ago a run of thefts on backflow preventers had the Manatee County Sheriffs Office handing out advice to homeowners on how to protect them.
Then, almost as quickly as the thefts started, they dwindled, said Randy Warren a sheriffs office spokesman.
Now, it appears, the theft of these scrap metal-rich devices, required by modern building codes to prevent sewage or waste water from backing up from homes and businesses into county and city waterlines, may be back again.
On Tuesday, three victims who live in the ironically named Copperfield subdivision in the 3800 block of 78th Avenue Circle East and the 7800 block of 38th Court East had their backflow preventers stolen, either for the copper and brass inside them or, perhaps, to be resold, Warren said.
Also, either late Monday or early Tuesday, five backflow preventers were stolen from a shopping plaza at 11535 Palmbrush Trail in Lakewood Ranch, impacting the AAA office, Luxury Nail and Spa and UPS, according to a sheriffs office report.
Backflow preventers are attractive to thieves because they usually are unprotected, outside, at the street, near the water meter. Secondly, they can be sold either for the metal inside them or to be reused, Warren said.
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