Cheyenne police are seeing an increase in backflow preventer thefts.

The department says thieves are stealing the devices, which are used to protect potable water supplies from contamination or pollution due to backflow, for their copper and brass.

"We are seeing this happen during the day and at night," said Detective Mike Fernandez.

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"Thieves will cut the device with a saw," Fernandez added. "Some have gotten so good at removing them, that it can be done within minutes."

To address the issue, police have been working with local recycling businesses, instructing them to remain vigilant.

They're also reminding citizens to take the following steps to help avoid becoming victims:

Step 1: Paint, Label, or Coat

  • Paint backflow devices or spray with truck-bed liner to decrease their scrap value.
  • Stamp, label, or identify the metal with a recognizable code.

Step 2: Cover/Enclose

  • Cover backflow devices with either a protective cage or enclosure, which are secured or mounted to the ground.

Step 3: Secure

  • Use a high-quality lock on security cages. Lock guards protect locks from bolt cutter access.

Step 4: Post Warnings

  • Post a visible warning sign mentioning security measures.

Step 5: Consider Plastic Options

  • Consider using plastic backflow preventers, which contain minimal amounts of semiprecious metals.

Step 6: Hide/Conceal

  • Disguise backflow devices by covering them with other natural landscape surroundings.
    Use a heavy-duty enclosure box.
Cheyenne Police Department
Cheyenne Police Department

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