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(Chicago Trib)   Two accused of stealing fire hydrants across Chicago. That's one hell of an obscure business model   (chicagotribune.com) divider line 26
    More: Strange, fire hydrants, Chicago, David Carradine  
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1339 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 May 2014 at 3:18 PM (17 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



26 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-05-19 12:16:39 PM
Maybe they were holding dog owners for ransom. "If you don't want your dog to explode like a water balloon, you had better pay up!"
 
2014-05-19 01:35:08 PM
Scrap value. Crackheads or heroin addicts if The Wire can be believed.
 
2014-05-19 03:24:44 PM
How do you steal a fire hydrant with out water blowing all over? Is there some type of valve that I don't know about that shuts water off to the hydrant?
 
2014-05-19 03:25:43 PM
Hi Chicago!  I heard you were in the market for a fire hydrant.  I got one right here.  Since you probably got water gushing all over the street, you won't haggle the price.  Well, where else are you gonna get a fire hydrant?  Lowe's?  Home Depot?  I think not.
 
2014-05-19 03:27:09 PM
One hydrant had been disassembled to fit it into the vehicle, according to court records.

At least the car was Smart.
 
2014-05-19 03:28:10 PM

ongbok: How do you steal a fire hydrant with out water blowing all over? Is there some type of valve that I don't know about that shuts water off to the hydrant?


The article is slim on details, but when a hydrant is out of service they typically paint it a different color or hang a tag on it.  It is possible that these guys were targeting out of service hydrants.
 
2014-05-19 03:30:43 PM

ongbok: How do you steal a fire hydrant with out water blowing all over? Is there some type of valve that I don't know about that shuts water off to the hydrant?


The valve is below grade.  How do I know this?  I popped and sent one flying while going head on with a '77 LeSabre in 1994.  The only damage the car too was a bumper dent, a bent frame and a popped tire from the curb.  That car was beast.
 
2014-05-19 03:37:55 PM
Older ones do not have an underground shut off valve.  The one by my old church had to be replaced after a drunk driver hopped the curb.  There was water everywhere.  The replacement hydrant had the new underground valve which came in handy a few weeks later when it was also run into.
 
2014-05-19 03:39:42 PM

Anderson's Pooper: Older ones do not have an underground shut off valve.  The one by my old church had to be replaced after a drunk driver hopped the curb.  There was water everywhere.  The replacement hydrant had the new underground valve which came in handy a few weeks later when it was also run into.


Why are there so many drunk drivers who hate fire hydrants by your old church?
 
2014-05-19 03:40:25 PM
Gratuitous political threadsh*t begins now:

This is what happens when you allow democrats to run a city!

Gratutious political threadsh*t ends now.
 
2014-05-19 03:45:05 PM
Rob Ford, at it again.
i1.ytimg.com
 
2014-05-19 03:45:32 PM
I never understood freshwater economics.
 
2014-05-19 04:04:42 PM

ongbok: How do you steal a fire hydrant with out water blowing all over? Is there some type of valve that I don't know about that shuts water off to the hydrant?


Most of the new fire hydrants are "Dry Barrel" as you don't want your fire hydrants freezing up in the winter in northern latitudes.  They don't work too well if they are big red Popsicles in January.
 
2014-05-19 04:11:57 PM

Anderson's Pooper: Older ones do not have an underground shut off valve.  The one by my old church had to be replaced after a drunk driver hopped the curb.  There was water everywhere.  The replacement hydrant had the new underground valve which came in handy a few weeks later when it was also run into.


In cold climates, what are called "dry barrel" hydrants are installed. The nut on the top turns a stem that turns a below-grade valve. This keeps the hydrant from being freezing in the winter. In warmer climates, wet barrel hydrants are used, with a valve directly on the discharges. A car hitting a dry barrel may or may not break the below-grade valve, so water may or may not come gushing out. A car hitting a wet barrel will certainly cause water to come out.

As far as the article, all I can say is that it'll take a lot of hydrants to make any money. They're made of cast iron and not worth a whole lot as scrap. Their value is in their utility and construction, not in the raw materials.
 
2014-05-19 04:14:28 PM

HeadLever: ongbok: How do you steal a fire hydrant with out water blowing all over? Is there some type of valve that I don't know about that shuts water off to the hydrant?

Most of the new fire hydrants are "Dry Barrel" as you don't want your fire hydrants freezing up in the winter in northern latitudes.  They don't work too well if they are big red Popsicles in January.


My daughter hit one with her car.  She calls panicking and I'm thinking all kinds of death, carnage, water spraying everywhere.  I get there and she has a small hole in the plastic on her bumper and the fire hydrant is laying on its side.  How dull.  No water shooting anywhere....nothing.  Apparently besides the obvious 'how about we design this to not spray everywhere and put a simple valve somewhere' there's also the 'hey guys, what if someone actually hit this.  it'd be a shame to kill them and wreck out pretty hydrant.  How about we put a sheer bolt in here somewhere so it just flops over when you hit it.'

The cop says 'yeah they probably won't charge you anything even for it.  it's just one bolt to put it back up'.  He was wrong.  The town charged me $1000.  I suppose $990 of that was a 'hey dumbass don't run over our fire hydrants' fine.  Or I could be all cynical about govt workers and 3 union guys taking 3 days to put it back up.
 
2014-05-19 04:15:37 PM
Set up shop in San Francisco, hire some kids, call it "Hoser" the mobile, crowd-sourced, social way for drug addicts to find fire hydrants worth stealing and connecting thieves with scrap dealers, and - boom - $20MM in seed capital.
 
2014-05-19 04:39:36 PM

HeadLever: ongbok: How do you steal a fire hydrant with out water blowing all over? Is there some type of valve that I don't know about that shuts water off to the hydrant?

Most of the new fire hydrants are "Dry Barrel" as you don't want your fire hydrants freezing up in the winter in northern latitudes.  They don't work too well if they are big red Popsicles in January.


That's dumb. You'd think they'd just wait until the fire thawed it out. But oh no, they've got to make everything more complicated, bleed the tax coffers dry.
 
2014-05-19 04:59:56 PM

Tr0mBoNe: Scrap value. Crackheads or heroin addicts if The Wire can be believed.


Well iron can be as much as $15 a hundred lately, I dont know what hydrants weigh but if its like a couple hundred it wont take many to have some money for meth or crack or whatever the tweakers are doing these days.
 
2014-05-19 05:01:39 PM

ongbok: How do you steal a fire hydrant with out water blowing all over? Is there some type of valve that I don't know about that shuts water off to the hydrant?


Fire hydrants close "with pressure". When you open a hydrant you are actually pushing the seal open, and when you close it you are simply relieving the pressure on the stem and allowing the water pressure to close it. They are also equipped with break-away stems that, when hit by a vehicle (for instance) they will not spray into the air as you see in the movies, but will simply break  off allowing the water pressure to keep the seal closed.

That being said, I am pretty sure that these hydrants they were stealing were probably not installed into the ground or they would only be able to steal the bonnet (the red part), which would already fit into a car. The cast iron value of the hydrant would not be very much, but they are full of bronze parts that would bring quite a bit more when broken down. A new hydrant costs about $1100, so if they had a buyer set up who actually needed a functional hydrant they may bring a pretty good profit for them.
 
2014-05-19 05:03:24 PM

The Pope of Manwich Village: Set up shop in San Francisco, hire some kids, call it "Hoser" the mobile, crowd-sourced, social way for drug addicts to find fire hydrants worth stealing and connecting thieves with scrap dealers, and - boom - $20MM in seed capital.


I just wonder where you can find a scrap dealer that will take a hydrant. In most states its illegal for them to take a hydrant.
 
2014-05-19 05:21:47 PM

brandent: HeadLever: ongbok: How do you steal a fire hydrant with out water blowing all over? Is there some type of valve that I don't know about that shuts water off to the hydrant?

Most of the new fire hydrants are "Dry Barrel" as you don't want your fire hydrants freezing up in the winter in northern latitudes.  They don't work too well if they are big red Popsicles in January.

My daughter hit one with her car.  She calls panicking and I'm thinking all kinds of death, carnage, water spraying everywhere.  I get there and she has a small hole in the plastic on her bumper and the fire hydrant is laying on its side.  How dull.  No water shooting anywhere....nothing.  Apparently besides the obvious 'how about we design this to not spray everywhere and put a simple valve somewhere' there's also the 'hey guys, what if someone actually hit this.  it'd be a shame to kill them and wreck out pretty hydrant.  How about we put a sheer bolt in here somewhere so it just flops over when you hit it.'

The cop says 'yeah they probably won't charge you anything even for it.  it's just one bolt to put it back up'.  He was wrong.  The town charged me $1000.  I suppose $990 of that was a 'hey dumbass don't run over our fire hydrants' fine.  Or I could be all cynical about govt workers and 3 union guys taking 3 days to put it back up.


They probably charged you for the replacement cost of the hydrant barrel which probably received some damage. A new hydrant costs $1100 (at least here in Alabama), but just the upper portion that breaks off costs nearly $700 by itself if you want to replace it. The accompanying gasket/bold kits, the stem and coupler probably raised the price to $900 plus labor. The officer was wrong too. There are 6 break-away bolts on the barrel itself as well as two cast iron split rings that they bolt to. Lots of parts. :-)
 
2014-05-19 05:27:36 PM

Oldiron_79: The Pope of Manwich Village: Set up shop in San Francisco, hire some kids, call it "Hoser" the mobile, crowd-sourced, social way for drug addicts to find fire hydrants worth stealing and connecting thieves with scrap dealers, and - boom - $20MM in seed capital.

I just wonder where you can find a scrap dealer that will take a hydrant. In most states its illegal for them to take a hydrant.


This happened in Chicago, the city where a scrap dealer shredded fairly new school buses and probably would have gotten away with it if they hadn't been GPS equipped.
 
2014-05-19 05:49:41 PM
That's bad enough but this shiat has got to stop
 
2014-05-19 08:30:03 PM
In Miami it was Sewer Grates and storm drain covers. 74,000 $ worth of them at one point.
 
2014-05-19 08:41:46 PM

lizyrd: As far as the article, all I can say is that it'll take a lot of hydrants to make any money. They're made of cast iron and not worth a whole lot as scrap. Their value is in their utility and construction, not in the raw materials.


From my experience with scraping, cast iron brings the higher premium for steel material, compared to general steel price.  And since hydrants are crazy heavy, they could've made some fairly good cash.  We had storm drains and manhole covers go missing as well, maybe Chicago found a way to put a stop to those thefts.

Oldiron_79: I just wonder where you can find a scrap dealer that will take a hydrant. In most states its illegal for them to take a hydrant.


It isn't illegal, but the scrapyard receiving it has to be careful to check who is bringing it.  Sometimes permits are required, meaning only large demolition operations can afford to turn in certain materials.  Sometimes it is a hassle for the city to turn in its own scrap, but that's the price of trying to stop idiots like these.  The latest changes we had come to scrapyards are they are now required to also take our picture (along with proof of ID, plate numbers of truck and trailer, and finger print) then mail a check for the value of the scrap.  But they do receive commercial grade materials all the time, like a huge shipment of old water mains with hydrants still attached, after a city did some repairs.
 
2014-05-19 09:46:32 PM
ts2.mm.bing.net
Most Hydrants of this type are made of brass.
 
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