NORWALK, Calif. (KABC) -- A busy Norwalk street was closed to traffic after thieves stole a major component of the water system, weakening the ground under the road.
The city first thought a break in a water main saturated the ground beneath Firestone Boulevard. However, officials realized thieves actually dug into the ground and stole the backflow valve.
The influx of water created a 13-foot-deep cavern beneath the roadway. Authorities say at least 90,000 gallons of water escaped.
Thieves often steal these parts and sell the brass. The part, worth an estimated $25, caused at least $75,000 in damage -- enough to repave two city streets.
Firestone Boulevard was closed to westbound traffic between Imperial Highway and Studebaker Road while crews work to repair the road. Tens of thousands of drivers will have to be rerouted in the meantime.
The closure will remain in effect until Thursday.