Thief grabs brass sprinkler connector rings

Thursday, January 5, 2006

SALEM, N.H.--The thief who stole outdoor sprinkler connectors from six businesses here is still at large, but the connectors are fully operational thanks to a local sprinkler contractor, Xcel Fire Protection.
During a late December routine inspection, a Salem Fire Department captain noticed that the fire department connector for a sprinkler system at a local business was missing, said Kevin Breen, Salem Fire Chief.
A sprinkler system will still work without a connector; an FDC is used as a back up. "It's sole use is to add supplemental water and pressure to the system," Breen said.
After the fire department put the word out, five other businesses discovered their FDCs were missing. There are different types of FDCs; the stolen connectors are all older varieties made of brass.
Scott Minton, a technician with Xcel Fire Protection, heard about the missing connectors from Breen and told his employer, Chris McGadden. McGadden gave the fire department a special adaptor to keep in the fire truck that will enable firefighters to connect to a sprinkler system without an FDC.
Since the FDC connectors are only inspected annually, it is possible that they were stolen months ago. This is not the first time FDCs have been swiped. When Breen sent an email warning other Northern New England fire departments about the occurrence, he heard from the Hudson, N.H., Fire Department that a number of brass FDCs were stolen there eight years ago. The culprit was caught when he tried to sell the brass from the FDCs.
Asked what the brass from an FDC would sell for, Breen said, "I can't imagine it would be more than eight bucks. It makes you understand why it happens so rarely."