FORT WORTH — Copper thieves have found a new target, and it's leaving homeowners all wet.
Alan Klotz said the water was running for 24 hours at his 100-year-old house on East Weatherford Street in downtown Fort Worth.
"This was under water, and water was gushing out through here," Klotz said as he pointed to the back of his house.
What he originally thought was a leak turned out to be the work of copper thieves. They went into the crawl space, stole the pipes, and left the water running.
Photos show water was six inches high on the pilings for the foundation. All of the pipes running from the main line to sinks and tubs were gone.
Klotz estimates as much as 200,000 gallons flooded his property and the neighboring lots before he turned off the main valve to the house.
Police reports indicate other occupied homes have also had their pipes stolen. Carpets on Childress Street were thrown to the curb after thieves stole the copper plumbing on Tuesday.
The crooks have moved on from smaller targets and air conditioning units. Now, their shift to heavier metal could wash away someone's property.
The 100-year-old pilings at Klotz's house went from drought to flood conditions in a matter of hours.
"To think that severe damage could be done to it is a pretty sad thing," said Gretchen Klotz, who is still waiting for insurance estimates and an engineer's report.
The Klotz family believes insurance will pay for the repairs, but they worry that a few minutes of crime could bring down a century of history in Fort Worth.