Under the cover of darkness, a group of vandals this spring slashed an inflatable dam in the Bay Area, sending millions of gallons of water into San Francisco Bay.
The attack cost $1 million in damage, and, perhaps more destructive in drought-stricken California, wasted enough water to supply about 500 homes for a year, local officials said.
After a six-month investigation, authorities in Fremont announced Tuesday that four men – all between the ages of 19 and 21 – were arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism for the May 21 attack.
The men are accused of entering a restricted portion of Alameda Creek near Niles and slashing the inflatable dam, which was one of two dams on the creek and maintained by the Alameda County Water District, police said.
Nearly 50 million gallons of water flowed into the bay – bypassing the groundwater basin that would eventually supply homes and businesses in Fremont, Newark and Union City.
At the time, the water district’s general manager, Robert Shaver, said the vandalism was “utterly senseless” and wasteful.
“This is a very significant loss of water under any circumstances and more so in the drought conditions we are experiencing,” Shaver said.
Detectives traced the crime to the suspects through several tips, especially after the Police Department released surveillance images from the scene.
All four men are residents of Fremont
For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno.