Authorities said Tuesday they have arrested and charged a 34-year-old man in connection with several incidents involving tampering with fire hydrants in Washington.
The incidents happened over the past few days, involved 20 hydrants and posed a safety risk, according to D.C. Water.
D.C. police said they arrested and charged Neema Kordestani of Danville, Calif. He faces charges of water violation and other offenses.
According to a police report, he was seen Monday evening opening a hydrant with a wrench in the 800 block of First Street NE. And he was caught doing the same in the 500 block of First Street NE, police said.
At one point, he was seen to match a description given by a passerby, according to court documents. He was spotted by law enforcement walking into an Amtrak emergency exit at Union Station holding a backpack and large wrench, the documents stated.
Kordestani did not return a phone call and email Wednesday seeking comment. As of midday Wednesday, he had not had his initial appearance in court.
D.C. Water spokesman Vincent Morris said that the incidents were rare and that officials did not know the motive behind the tampering.
“We’re mystified of why someone would tamper with these,” he said. “It’s a huge public safety risk. If a hydrant has blown out its water, and there’s a fire on the block, that’s going to jeopardize the ability to fight it.”
In addition, he said, it’s a waste of water and causes roads to be blocked while crews deal with the problem.
The hydrants that were tampered with were mostly in Northeast Washington.
One of the incidents happened Monday at H and Sixth Street NE. Jill Cashen posted a video showing water spraying from a hydrant and wrote, “Some guy just walked by [with] a wrench and opened the hydrant at H and 6th NE.”