Reward offered over water tank vandalism

Published 5:17 pm Wednesday, January 9, 2013

City leaders have decided to offer a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever’s responsible for vandalism of a city water tower in Linbrook Businesses Park recently.

     Aldermen approved the reward following an executive session during Tuesday night’s city board meeting.

     Officials believe the Linbrook water tower was shot twice near the end of December. Both shots pierced the tank and water has been leaking from the tower since.

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     The tank was drained Tuesday and repairs of the tank should begin Wednesday, said Brookhaven Water Department Superintendent Keith Lewis.

     Patching the holes in the tank will cost approximately 12,000, said Adam Northam, a representative of WGK engineering.

     However, additional costs of sterilizing the tank, refilling it with water and sampling the water for purity will probably drive up total project costs, Northam said.

     Following Tuesday evening’s meeting, city attorney Fernald said the city wants to head off any potential copycats, and he hopes an arrest in the case would send a message.

     If there’s an arrest, Fernald anticipated bringing forward charges of destruction of city property and perhaps addition charges if warranted.

     “We will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law,” Fernald said.

     The city attorney believes it likely whoever is responsibly for the vandalism has bragged about the crime. Fernald thinks the reward will entice someone to come forward.

     “In this economy, that will get someone’s attention,” Fernald said of the reward.

     Diamond Enterprise, of Gloster, is performing the actual repairs, but WGK will be assessing the condition of the tank, which is about five years old.

     “We are going to inspect the inside of it to make sure the coating is holding up and the tank’s good,” Northam said.

     Officials estimate the tank could be offline one or two weeks.

     The tower has a capacity of 1 million gallons though the entirety of the 1 million gallons wasn’t drained, Lewis said.

     Said Lewis, “We let the system use as much of it as we could.”

     City water customers shouldn’t notice a loss of water pressure even though the Linbrook tower is temporarily out of commission.

     Anyone with information about the vandalism of the tank can contact the Brookhaven Police Department Crime Stoppers, said Police Chief Pap Henderosn.

     BPD can be reached at 601-833-2424 and Crimestoppers at 601-823-0150.