Thieves Steal Fire Hydrants in Calif.

ROSEVILLE, Calif. --

Police said people in Roseville are at risk because thieves have been stealing fire hydrants.

Police said the thieves know how to turn off the water to the hydrant and how to disassemble it. They take the hydrants in order to sell the metal inside, police said.

Many of the hydrants are disappearing in construction sites where new homes are going up.

"The first thing I thought of was what are they going to do with them," said Roseville resident Dawn Hradecky.

"We want to catch these people because there are a couple of public safety factors in it," said Roseville police Lt. Mike Doane. "That's what makes this crime kind of go to the top of the list."

Police, firefighters and neighbors all expressed concern that lives could be at risk if a fire breaks out where a hydrant has disappeared.

"That's scary if there's a fire," Hradecky said. "Especially in an area like that where there is probably not a lot of people around."

Doane said the thieves are leaving behind another hazard.

"Even when they take the fire hydrant off, they are leaving an exposed pipe that's empty," he said.

Police said the thieves may be dressed like city workers, but if they don't have a city logo, the public should be skeptical.

Copyright 2009 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.