LAKE ELSINORE – A man suspected of stealing more than $12,000 of brass fire sprinkler valves during a rash of commercial thefts in Lake Elsinore remained behind bars today, records showed.
The suspect, John Clifford, 44, of Lake Elsinore, was arrested Thursday and booked on suspicion of grand theft. He was held in lieu of $5,000 bail, records showed.
The theft of 23 backflow units and meters from a number of Lake Elsinore businesses between Jan. 15 and Feb. 5 prompted an investigation. A backflow unit protects potable water from backflow pollution, and is made of brass that is often targeted by metal thieves, Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Raymond Nava said.
Fire sprinkler systems in commercial buildings can’t function without the units, Nava said.
Sheriff’s deputies interviewed Clifford last Saturday, and members of a sheriff’s task force went to his Lake Elsinore home and arrested him Thursday, Nava said.