DAVIE — A plumbing part was stolen from an industrial area early Wednesday, the latest in a recent rash of backflow valve thefts across Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Someone stole the backflow preventer near Burris Road and Oakes Road. That caused water to gush across roads and parking lots in an industrial area just west of State Road 7, according to Larry Doughty, utility maintenance supervisor in Davie.

Water pooled in parking lots and nearby surface streets, but no traffic was affected. Sometime after 8 a.m., staff from the town’s utility service shut off the water, Doughty said. It will be up to a business owner to have the backflow preventer replaced, he said.

A Davie police spokesman could not be reached for comment on Wednesday, despite a phone call and email.

Across South Florida, thieves are targeting the valves because they can be resold for scrap metal.

Areas where the thefts recently have occurred include Boca Raton, North Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Pompano Beach, Tamarac and Wilton Manors.

Last week the Broward Sheriff’s Office arrested two suspects in Oakland Park after deputies confiscated an ax and 26 backflow valves from their vehicle.

Also last week, an Oakland Park city employee was arrested on charges of stealing more than $17,000 worth of water meters and brass fittings from a city storage facility.


By Juan Ortega and Danielle A. Alvarez, Sun Sentinel