WASHINGTON - DC Water officials and D.C. police are investigating after someone reportedly allowed gallons of water to gush from fire hydrants across the District.
The motive is not clear, but DC Water spokesperson Vincent Morris said the agency has gotten reports of between six and 15 hydrants were unscrewed and drained, most of them in neighborhoods in Northeast D.C. beginning Saturday.
A Twitter user posted a picture of a similar incident from late August, reportedly in Petworth, and police have confirmed they are looking into whether the person in the photo is connected to the string of incidents.
The most recent hydrant tampering happened at 6th Street and H Street in Northeast D.C., which sent water gushing Monday morning into the Whole Foods store. A police report indicates the water pressure was so high that cars were not able to cross the street.
A witness, who didn't want to be identified, described to FOX 5 that the suspect appeared to be in a uniform. The witness contacted police when he saw the man use a wrench to open the hydrant, drop the wrench and walk away.
A police spokesperson only confirmed Monday's incident to FOX 5, but DC Water said all the incidents have been reported to police.
Morris said allowing water to gush from the hydrants causes both a safety risk and an inconvenience to nearby homes and businesses.
"It's pretty bizarre," said Morris. "He's essentially sabotaging hydrants across the city. Mostly in Northeast for some bizarre reason. But it's dangerous … He just opens the hydrant and walks away. That's what people are reporting to us. We have not seen that. I don't think police have seen that. So if anyone in the community sees that, please report that person immediately. Call 911. It's illegal to tamper with a fire hydrants. It's a public safety issue. It's not a joke. We don't take it lightly."
Anyone with information is asked to call D.C. police.