Locals at a loss after 600.000 litres of water stolen from Swiss town

Locals at a loss after 600.000 litres of water stolen from Swiss town

Authorities in the town of Wimmis, Canton Bern, are at a loss after someone was able to steal 600.000 litres of water from the local council (Gemeinde) in just 11 hours. Two weeks after the incident took place, police and local officials still have no clue who the thief was or how they were able to swipe so much water without anyone noticing.

600.000 litres of water stolen in Switzerland

On July 11, 2023, authorities in the town of Wimmis received a strange report from the local water reservoir. It said that 1.000 litres of water a minute had been pumped from the town for 11 hours, leading to a loss of around 600.000 litres in total - nearly the entirety of the town's reserve water supply.

However, instead of it being a resident taking too long in the shower or someone running a lengthy slip-and-slide, authorities soon announced that Wimmis had been the victim of “water theft.” The community told 20 Minuten that "it's not just a trifle, it's a very serious incident," as "due to a large amount of water [stolen], supply and fire protection [measures] were briefly no longer fully guaranteed."

Local officials have no idea who stole the water

Despite a thorough investigation, municipal councillor Beat Schneider told Blick that the local government is still "faced with a mystery.” "Since we do not know who drew the water or where it took place, we have no new clues", he continued, noting that less dramatic causes, like a technical error or a leak, have already been ruled out by engineers.

Therefore, according to Wimmis Mayor Barbara Josi, someone has to have stolen the water from a fire hydrant. The heist would have been no mean feat either, given that according to official estimates, around 20 to 30 water tankers would have to have “passed through the village unnoticed” to get the H20 out of the town.

Locals have been encouraged to come forward if they saw anything untoward on July 11. In the meantime, Schnieder confirmed that they will be examining new ways of preventing water theft in the future. He added that they would “only make a criminal complaint if there was a concrete suspicion", but that they “still don't know what happened and who got the water for what."

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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