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O’Fallon sees rise in plumbing thefts

O’Fallon police have a suspect in a string of plumbing thefts.

St. Charles County, Missouri — Someone has been stealing backflow preventers from O’Fallon homes and businesses. The devices connect to underground lawn sprinkler systems, preventing soil contaminants from entering the public water supply.

Officer Diana Damke, O’Fallon Police Department spokeswoman, said Thursday said police identified a suspect they believe was involved in a majority of the thefts. They had not yet taken the suspect into custody. Police were waiting for the St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney’s office to issue charges, Damke said.

Thieves steal the backflow preventers to obtain the copper and brass parts, selling them to scrap metal buyers, Damke said. Detectives are talking to scrap metal and salvage business operators, trying to develop leads, she said.

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