Cap and Trade (copy)

This hydrant in Ryan Ranch has been stripped of its caps; about 30 feet up the road, a different hydrant’s caps have all been replaced with plastic.

A suspect who is alleged to have been stealing brass fire hydrant caps in various parts of Monterey County over the past several months has been caught, the Del Rey Oaks Police Department announced in an April 10 statement. 

Around 8am, April 7, DROPD, along with an assist from Seaside Police & Fire and investigators from the Soledad State Prison, executed a search warrant at 1531 Monterey-Salinas Highway in unincorporated Monterey and arrested Bryan Vasu, 44, who lives at the residence and is suspected of stealing over 600 hydrant caps in recent months.  

And while no hydrant caps were found at the residence, DROPD Detective Chris Salopek says officers did find a smelter and brick molds on the property. He wasn't part of the search, but believes there were at least 10 brass bars found throughout the house. 

The investigation started after there were thefts of hydrant caps reported in the The Oaks, a condo development in Del Rey Oaks, as well at the Stone Creek shopping center. And the number of over 600, he says, was reached after talking to other investigators. 

In a post-arrest interview, Salopek says Vasu admitted to stealing caps all the way from Pebble Beach to Castroville, and that once he melted them down, he sold them to scrap metal yards in the Bay Area.

Vasu was booked on charges of grand theft, buying/receiving part of a fire hydrant to salvage, and tampering with a fire hydrant. Salopek says whether any of the counts will rise to the level of a felony will be up to the discretion of the District Attorney's office.

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