Toilet Thief Strikes Again in Dunedin, Clearwater

The toilets in the Dunedin Public Library aren't the only ones to be victimized by thieves. Valves were also taken from toilets at the Dunedin Historical Society and Museum and three locations in Clearwater, and police are looking for a suspect.

The toilets in the men's restroom at the Dunedin Public Library aren't the only ones to be victimized by thieves, and authorities are working on tracking down a suspect.

It turns out that toilet flush valves were also recently stolen from the restrooms at the Dunedin Historical Society and Museum, Bay News 9 reports, and from at least three Clearwater locations.

The valves, which cost the city about $75 apiece to replace, were reported stolen from the library last week, as first reported by Dunedin Patch. 

Similar crimes were also reported at the Clearwater Main Library, the Checkers on Gulf to Bay Boulevard and McDonald's, at 539 S. Missouri Ave., also were hit, according to Clearwater Police.

"(Investigators) have developed a suspect and are working to locate him at this time," Elizabeth Watts, Clearwater Police spokeswoman, said in an email.

The Sloan parts control water flow into the toilet, and are located on the outside of most commercial grade toilets.

A Pinellas County Sheriff's Office spokersperson told Bay News 9 that authorities believe whoever took the valve knew what they were doing because they turned the water off. 

Without the valves, the toilets won't flush, leaving the Clearwater library's restroom out of order, Bay News 9 reports.

“In all of the time that I’ve been in libraries both here and libraries all across the country, I have never heard of this particular kind of situation coming up before,” Barbara Pickell, the Clearwater library's director, told Bay News 9.

-Ed Harris- October 18, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Be on the look out for someone carrying two pair of medium sized channel locks(pliers about 10 inches long) they are using a blade/flat screwdriver also to cut off the water, they will need at least a plastic bag because even after turning off the water supply the valve retains water which will drip out for a bit so cloth bags would get wet. If may be a good idea to check the ceiling for tools or the valves, some bathrooms have 2x4 tile ceilings that can be reached by standing on the toilet. A thief could hide his tools and/or valve there to be picked up later by him or someone else. The thief will be caught because not all Sloan valves come apart that easy and at some point the person is going to run into a problem. Either the water wont be shut off all the way soaking the thief or someone will walk in on the thief. I would strongly suggest tightening the chrome cap that covers the shut off valve as tight as it will go, no sense in making it easy. I have many times had to use a large pipe wrench to undue that cap. Their is no way a thief will walk around with a large pipe wrench.
Colin Bishop October 18, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Could it be a plumber doing this?
-Ed Harris- October 18, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Yes Colin it could! But it's more likely that it's someone who was or is a plumbers helper. My guess would be was a plumbers helper or the son of a plumber. Sloan valves really are a pain in the neck to work on because they get so stiff and hard to pull apart (probably from all that fluoride in the water lol). The assembly/body has some weight to it and is mostly brass. There is a company on Hercules called One Steel if anyone came there trying to cash in for scrap they take a pic of you, your stuff, you have to show ID and give up your thumb print. Most places like that are good about that kind of thing. I can't imagine they would not remember seeing 4-5 shiny chrome Sloan valves being cash in.
Katie Dolac October 18, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Just received word from authorities that there was arrest in this case. We will share details as soon as the authorities make them available!
Colin Bishop October 18, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Hi Katie, yes I received news of an arrest: Herman Acosta, 43, was arrested Wednesday for allegedly stealing toilet pipes from Clearwater Main Library, according to Clearwater Police. Perhaps he did it to stop the fishes being fluoridated?


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