PHOENIX - Creeping up to the front of your home, it doesn't take much for thieves to get what they want and get out.
“Mine I would mostly notice in the morning that faucet was running,” said Robin Thompson.
At first Thompson, who lives near 15th Avenue and Thomas Road in Phoenix, figured she'd simply forgotten to turn her outside spout off.
Then it happened again and again and again.
What began as confusion turned into suspicion and anger after she got her next water bill.
It went from around $50 to $60 a month, “to 150, 160 bucks, and the following month it was almost 200,” Thompson told 12 News.
While it may sound strange, people apparently do steal water from homes.
Next Door, an information sharing app for neighbors, shows a list of feeds for people alerting others to possible water thefts near central Phoenix.
“It's actually personal property theft,” said Jim Swanson, the Deputy Water Services Director for the city of Phoenix. “You're actually stealing from the homeowner.”
Swanson said while homeowners rarely call them, when they do get complaints it’s typically someone who lives nearby.
“It's generally theft from neighbor to neighbor,” he said.
Generally, but not always.
“It was around 5 in the morning when I heard the faucet go on,” Thompson said.
She says when she ran outside there was a work truck parked in front of her house and her hose was pumping water into the back of it.
“They threw the hose back in the yard and they screamed and drove off,” she said about the men standing near the truck.
Like many other neighbors, Thompson ended up securing her outside spouts with bib locks.
The locks, which require a key to open the water spout, can be found at most hardware stores for around $10-20.
After that she says her bill went back to normal.
It’s a simple and effective investment Thompson believes will keep thieves away -and more money in your pocket.
“Doubling that bill means they (homeowners) may not be able to pay the light bill or get the extra groceries that month,” she said.
The city also says people should check their water bill for spikes in usage and learn how to read their meter.
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