Lock it up: Preventing thieves from stealing your water

Reporter: Nicole Gabe
Published: Updated:

A 30,000 gallon mystery.

A woman in Cape Coral is fighting a $500 water bill, now with two plumbers now on her side who are saying they can’t see any way she used all that water. Did someone steal it?

Jo-Ann Piacente is still fuming over the sky-high water bill she received from the City of Cape Coral.

She knows there’s no leak in her home after having the entire home tested. So what could it be?

“I feel very violated because I didn’t do anything wrong but yet, I have to pay this bill and also I worry about it happening again and happening to other people,” she said.

The $565 bill translates to more than 30,000 gallons of water- enough to fill a swimming pool. She says, that didn’t happen at her home.

Piacente says she was gone for nine days in July, so she figured she would have used less water, not more.

Plumber Larry Lambing believes something suspicious is going on, but there’s no proof.

“I’m frustrated and I’m upset, but again, there’s nothing I can do about it,” said Piacente.

The City of Cape Coral says she can file a leak repair adjustment request- and she did.

Piacente did have a plumber come to fix her toilets the day after she discovered a problem, but the plumber said there’s no way that much water leaked in 24 hours.

So what can you do to protect your water and prevent a possible theft? It’s simple: a lock.

WINK News brought Piacente what’s called a hose bibb lock. It goes on your spigot and with a snap of the lock, your water is safe.

You can find these locks for less than $15 at any home improvement or hardware store.

We checked with Cape Coral police and other law enforcement agencies to find out if water theft is something they see.

They said they hear about it on occasion, but it’s very difficult to prove without someone seeing it, or catching someone on camera.

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