Mineral Wells Finance Director John Moran has led the charge to crack down on these types of thefts since he first started working for the City of Mineral Wells just over a year ago. He told the Index Mineral Wells deals with more water thefts per capita than any other city he has worked in, and he is determined to change that, not only for the City, but for the welfare of all citizens.
"When people steal water, they don't realize they're stealing from the whole community," he said. "They're not necessarily stealing from 'the City,' they're stealing from the citizens. Water is a community asset.
"They also put the whole water system at risk. In [Russell's] case, he took the water meter off. If anybody goes out and monkeys with the water system, they're exposing it to contaminants. If there's water in the vault where the water meter is, it can back-sifon into the system and contaminate it. It's really a bigger deal than people realize at the surface. Ground water can be contaminated with who knows what, and if that gets back into the water system, that's what you and I drink.
"Since I've been here, we've really been making a concerted effort to involve the police when we find these water thefts, because it's such a big deal. We want to protect the integrity of the water system."