Man Suspected in 80,000 Gallon Water Theft Investigation

Man Suspected in 80,000 Gallon Water Theft Investigation

Martín Di Felice

Indio Hills, CA

An Indio Hills man was arrested today for allegedly stealing more than 80,000 gallons of water by illegally tapping into a fire hydrant near his home.

Baltazar Arias, 55, was arrested on suspicion of felony theft of utilities and was booked into the Riverside County jail in Indio, where he was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail, according to jail records.

Sheriff’s deputies and members of the Coachella Valley Water District say they ascertained that Arias had allegedly stolen about $24,000 worth of water via an illegal connection with a CVWD hydrant.

Deputies arrested Arias just after 1 a.m. at his Northwood Drive home.

It is unknown how long Arias was allegedly stealing water, but according to CVWD’s Heather Engel, the water was taken over a short period of time.

“To put it in perspective, the average household in the Coachella Valley uses about 160,000 gallons of water per year,” Engel said.