GRAND COUNTY, Colo. — Authorities believe a suspect purposefully damaged and destroyed Northglenn's water gates on Berthoud Pass, resulting in a decrease in water output in the city.
On June 22, the City of Northglenn reached out to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office about water theft and criminal mischief.
The city has a water ditch on Berthoud Pass around 11,200 feet that diverts water through a system from the mountains to the city. City staff had noticed a "sudden and significant" decrease in water output over the previous two days and headed up the pass to investigate, according to the sheriff's office. Berthoud Pass is about an hour west of Northglenn. When they arrived at the ditch, they found that several diversion gates had been intentionally damaged and destroyed.
The decrease in water flow "could result in monumental losses for the city," the sheriff's office said.
Northglenn City Manager Heather Geyer said the city depends on this water source.
"We encourage anyone who might have any information related to the incidents to come forward," Geyer said. "We will do everything we can to protect our resource. Respecting the ownership of water rights is critical to fair and equitable distribution of this precious resource in Colorado.”
Crimes like this are not victimless, said Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin.
"The residents of the City of Northglenn are directly impacted by this vandalism," he added.
Diana M. Wilson, director of communications for the City of Northglenn, said the damaged gates did not have any impact on Northglenn residents because the reduced flow was recognized quickly and corrected.
Wilson said the damage was estimated at $50,000 and added it may take some time to fix due to supply chain issues.
This case remains under investigation. Anybody with information should call the sheriff's office at 970-725-3343 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to provide an official statement.
No other details were available as of Friday morning.