Westcal Construction company owner Richard Chidgey arrived at a job site in National City early on the morning of July 28 and discovered that someone had unsucessfully tried to steal a copper fitting from the plumbing work in progress. The thief apparently attempted to remove the two-dollar part with the intent of recycling the metal and aborted the theft when water began spraying from a pipe.
The leaking pipe had flooded Westcal Construction's open trenches during the night or early morning hours. Chidgey called the water district for emergency utility shutoff. Eight water district trucks responded to the emergency, and multiple fire hydrants were opened to release pressure in the water lines.
When the district's workers attempted to close the main water line, the aged seal on the line broke, creating a geyser of water that was higher than 30 feet at the beginning of the repair, according to water district workers.
While the repair was under way, service was shut off for over an hour in approximately a quarter-mile area near East Plaza Boulevard and Highland Avenue.
Westcal Construction also said that shovels, sledgehammers, jackhammers, and approximately 2300 feet of copper electrical wiring were stolen Wednesday night. A police report was filed, and no suspects have been apprehended.