MOLALLA, Ore. -- The theft of a computer from Molalla's water treatment
facility is being considered a federal crime by authorities.
Someone broke into the water plant Saturday night and stole the
computer, which was what kept the plant working on auto pilot. Water
service to Molalla has not been affected, but workers must operate the
plant the old-fashioned way.
"It has to be manually run and also inspected (so) visual checks can be
made," said Marc Howatt, the city's public works director.
The thieves broke into the water plant through a back window. Once
inside, Howatt said, the thief triggered a motion detector and an
on-call manager rushed to the facility and found the front door open and
one of the computers gone.
The computer contained software that monitored the water pumps,
reservoir and chlorine levels.
"The software enables ease of operation," Howatt said. "It allows the
operator to log onto a screen and see what's happening with the plant at
any given time during the day."
The following day, workers found the computer in a pond on the property.
City officials said it's destroyed, but a technician is trying to
salvage the hard drive and the costly programming on it.
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