New Paltz Mayor Tim Rogers wants people to know that not only is stealing bad, but stealing water from a fire hydrant is far from a victimless crime. A local contractor was caught taking water from a hydrant recently and charges will be pressed. As Rogers explained, opening a hydrant by an untrained person can lead to a “water hammer,” an imbalance of pressure in the system that can lead to one of the aging local water mains to break and will also lead to brown water coming out of some users’ faucets. The wet hydrants used in New Paltz also get winterized by municipal workers, who clear out all the water from the pipes and add some antifreeze to guard against freezing. This needs to be done every time firefighters use a given hydrant over the winter to keep them working, and water theft isn’t followed by the winterizing process. It’s possible that water left in a hydrant will freeze solid and render it inoperable when it’s needed most.