Theft of water meters, backflow devices occurring

After having his water meter and water backflow device stolen in the middle of the evening, a Rainbow resident warns others living in the rural parts of the Fallbrook community to guard their own devices.

Michael Varga was washing his dishes at home on October 3 when the water stopped.

“I only had half an inch of water in the sink when it just trickled to a stop. My meter is close to others, so I thought someone had accidentally turned it off,” he said. “I drove down and saw the water had washed out the road.”

The fire department, Sheriff’s department, California Highway Patrol and Rainbow Municipal Water District (RMWD) workers responded to the scene.

“The CHP was who told me that someone had stolen my meter and backflow device, and that this happens all the time,” said Varga. “It happened around 6:30 p.m., which means that it happened in broad daylight. It took four hours to turn off the water, an all day repair by RMWD, and I was without water for 24 hours.”

According to Brian Brady, general manager of RMWD, backflow devices are occasionally stolen from agricultural customers in Rainbow because they are made of brass.

“Thieves take the brass to scrap yards,” explained Brady. “We generally don’t have too many instances of this; it seems to happen sporadically. When it does, we notify the Sheriff, who then notifies the scrap yards so that they can look for a serial number. We appreciate the prompt help of customers when they see a circumstance like this so we can address the water loss and can notify authorities.”

In order to protect his new meter and backflow device installed by RMWD, Varga ordered a security stage and a concrete slab to encase his water meter and backflow pump, doing the majority of the repairs to his property himself. Varga stated the repairs cost him $1,200, with the meter replaced by RMWD at $500.

“I can’t imagine how expensive this would be if someone needed to get this all installed,” said Varga. “Originally, I was going to offer a reward, but instead, I’m putting the house up for sale. I hope others are able to prevent this from happening.”

7 Responses to "Theft of water meters, backflow devices occurring"

  1. Fallbrook res.   October 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Mr. Varga, I’m sorry his happened to your family. We put a tall fence around our property after something like that happened to us, I still watch the fence a night waiting to see if someone will jump it. I pray you find peace in your new home.

  2. Lee   October 24, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Absolute bull-you-know-what! Mr. Varga, I am so sorry this garbage happened to you! Fallbrookers, watch each others backs, and get out . . . your cameras. And immediately call Law Enforcement.

    Criminals, you do realize that it is only a matter of time before WE, THE PEOPLE and Law Enforcement catch you, right? You DO realize that, right? If not, oh well. And I sure as heck ain’t gonna pass you the tissues in the Vista courthouse when you’re sittin’ there ballin’. Good luck!

  3. DJ   October 24, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    But instead I’m putting the house up for sale????

  4. Lee   October 24, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    PS. Mr. Varga, don’t let a few pieces of you-know-what break your spirit, sell your home and move from Fallbrook! Don’t let them get to you. They are the ones who have committed a wrong, not you. So you stand your ground and stay.

    THEY, the criminals, must go!

  5. Barney Bishop   October 24, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Today backflow theft can be prevented but publications prevent you from disclosing them in comments. The theft problem gets worse, you pay for it even to the point of leaving your residence and the press stays silent with the exception of writing about your loss. Sound like politics. Don’t give us a solution make us think you care.

  6. Preston   October 28, 2013 at 8:07 am

    "backflow theft can be prevented but publications prevent you from disclosing them in comments"
    Please explain because there are times when my trusty deterrent thing is napping.

  7. Ray (the real one)   October 30, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Copper anyone?

    New trick by copper crooks. Melt it down before you sell it, no questions asked.


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