More than a dozen medians on Menaul Boulevard have been vandalized in the past few weeks by thieves looking to steal brass parts from the irrigation system, leaving the trees without any water until it’s nearly too late.
The glimmer of the brass pieces of the irrigation system is proving too tempting to criminals looking make quick buck. They're coming and they're disconnecting them from the bottom,” said James Dunn, superintendent of Parks for the City of Albuquerque.
Dunn says the backflow valve, made of brass, is then sold for pennies on the dollar. Now, some trees that have been growing along Menaul for 25 years will be cut down.
“With the drought situation that we've got now and the extremely dry air, any plant material ends up dying or stressing out relatively quickly,” Dunn said.
It costs the city $700 to fix each backflow valve and thousands more to rehabilitate and replace trees that have died completely.
Now the city is installing new casing over the backflow valve systems and spray-painting other systems black, to eliminate the sparkle of the brass, and hopefully deter thieves.
The interior lanes of Menaul Boulevard will be temporarily blocked in the next couple of weeks while crews remove the trees from the medians. Residents should be aware of delays.