PEORIA, Ariz. -- Peoria police said they have linked three suspects to a large number of thefts of water flow valves across the Valley.
Robert Goff, 44, Steven Dewitt, 32, and Alison Farmer, 28, were arrested March 22 in connection with a dozen cases in Peoria.
When the suspects were arrested, they had at least 10 valves with them that have since been connected to a theft in Glendale, according to Peoria police spokeswoman Amanda Jacinto.
Investigators have now linked the suspects to 20 cases in Scottsdale and another 10 to 15 cases in Glendale.
The thefts caused $75,000 in damages.
Jacinto said the suspects targeted commercial areas where multiple water flow devices were located in a row. They would steal at least five to 10 valves at a time, going to the locations late at night or the very early morning.
The suspects took the valves to a scrap yard where they got about $100 per valve for their precious metal content.
The businesses usually have to pay thousands of dollars in repair costs and have no access to water until the repairs are finished.
Jacinto said the suspects did not target any water flow devices that were painted blue. Scrap yards will not take blue-painted valves because they are linked to cities.
The Peoria Police Department encourages businesses to secure their water flow valves using cages and disk locks as well as paint them blue to prevent thieves from targeting them.