MIDDLE ISLAND, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – It was a prank but police said it was no joke.
Four teenagers are accused of opening at least 26 fire hydrants in Coram and Middle Island over the past month.
“There are others that we were unable to connect any of these individuals to with enough evidence to send it to court but it is our belief that they also did some of them,” Lt. Michael Murphy told 1010 WINS.
Suffolk County water officials said the typical hydrant can release more than 2,000 gallons of water per minute. Some hydrants remained open for hours causing flooding on roads and properties.
Police estimate a minimum of 250,000 gallons of water were lost due to the hydrant tampering.
“A gallon of water is rather inexpensive in Suffolk County,” Murphy said. “The bigger issue is the safety issue. You open up three or four fire hydrants for an hour, the water pressure is going to drop if there is a fire hazard.”
Murphy said on one night after several hydrants were opened, the Rocky Point water tower the level dropped 27 feet.
The suspects have been arrested and charged with criminal tampering.
David Spoerer, 18, Rohin Baweja, 16, and Eloy Vega-Benson, 16, are due back in court in February. The fourth suspect, a juvenile, will have a future appearance date in Family Court.
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