Tom Selleck accused of stealing water from public hydrant in midst of California's devastating drought

A truck has allegedly been seen siphoning water from the hydrant on at least a dozen occasions in the past two years

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The Independent Online

Actor Tom Selleck, the moustachioed star of Magnum PI, Three Men and a Baby and the cult Tumblr blog “Selleck Waterfall Sandwich”, has been accused of filching water from a public hydrant to irrigate his sprawling Southern California ranch.

According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, a complaint filed this week in a Ventura County court claims a white water truck has filled up with “huge amounts” of water from the hydrant on at least a dozen documented occasions in the past two years, before delivering the water to Mr Selleck’s 60-acre ranch in Westlake Village, a leafy, wealthy neighbourhood northwest of LA.

The Calleguas Municipal Water District, which filed the complaint, says it sent cease-and-desist letters to Mr Selleck at the property in November 2013, but in vain: the truck was allegedly seen siphoning water at the same hydrant in March this year, filling up and taking water to the ranch on four different days in the midst of a devastating drought.

In a tale reminiscent of the California crime classic Chinatown (not to mention Magnum PI), the water district hired a private investigator to look into the alleged theft, at a cost of almost $22,000 (£14,350). The complaint says Mr Selleck is not allowed to use the hydrant in question, because the ranch is in a neighbouring water district, Hidden Valley, not in Calleguas.

Mr Selleck and his wife Jillie have owned the ranch since 1988. The property includes an avocado farm; avocados are one of the thirsty crops identified as major water users during the current California drought, which is now in its fourth year. In April, Governor Jerry Brown called for a mandatory 25 per cent cut in urban water use across the state.

The cuts have led to a spate of so-called “drought shaming”, whereby social media users post images of their neighbours’ wasteful water use. Wealthy celebrities, who tend to own some of the largest, lushest lawns in Los Angeles, have become natural targets for the trend.

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