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Metal thieves target public toilets

People will steal almost anything.

Exhibit A in that theory comes from East Aurora police, who are reporting a relatively large number of "flush valves" being stolen from public restrooms in the village and the Town of Aurora. Flush valves, located inside the tank, are the devices used to empty the tank in a rush of water.

The reason for the thefts is pretty simple. Although these valves are plated in chrome, they're made of brass, and the thieves apparently are stealing them to sell them as scrap metal, police say.

"Scrap metal is up in value, leading some individuals to do desperate things at desperate times," East Aurora Detective Rick Daminski stated in a news release.

East Aurora police say they have had five or six incidents in the village and town, including thefts from Hamlin Park and Emery Park. More recently, Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park has fallen victim to the same crime.

Daminski also said the replacement cost is high, especially when the thefts lead to some broken parts. Maintenance crews have had to replace the complete toilet or urinal, along with the plumbing.

"Summer is here, and the parks are open for family enjoyment," he said. "I hate to see the bathrooms closed because of this type of desperate act."

Anyone with information about these thefts is asked to call Daminski at the East Aurora Police Department, 652-1111.