Tom Selleck Accused of Water Theft in Parched California

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SelleckActor Tom Selleck is accused of H2O theft by the truckloads in drought parched California by a water district near his Hidden Valley home. The star of TV crime dramas Magnum, P.I. and Blue Bloods is now embroiled in his own crime drama.

A Ventura County water district is suing Selleck, alleging that he – or representatives on his behalf – stole water from a public fire hydrant. According to the court documents, the tanker truck that pulled up to the hydrant was seen delivering the water to the star’s 60-acre ranch, where he grows an avocado crop.

This was not a one-time theft either. The Calleguas Municipal Water District lawsuit claims that, at least a dozen times, a commercial tanker truck went to a fire hydrant in their district, filled up and hauled the pilfered water to Selleck’s ranch located near Westlake Village (but not in it).

The Calleguas lawsuit claims the veteran actor, 70, and his wife, Jillie, who is also named in the complaint, are not entitled to any water from their district. Their ranch is actually served by a different water district, the Hidden Valley Municipal Water District. The Calleguas water district sent cease-and-desist letters to the actor and his wife late in November 2013, but the water pilfering reportedly continued. The most recent sightings, according to the complaint, were on four days in March 2015.

Selleck may have played a fictional P.I. (private investigator) on television, but the district used a real one to investigate the water thefts. The district’s investigator reportedly documented two years of water thefts. However, the local sheriff’s department has not established that a crime took place. Now, the situation is up to the Ventura County Superior Court, where the lawsuit was submitted Tuesday.

Water has become a contentious issue in the state, because of the relentless, four-year-long drought. Throughout the state, water use-restrictions are in place. Residents are required to cut water use by 25 percent in most California communities. Drought-shaming among neighbors is increasingly taking place in the not-so-Golden now state when someone is watering what is left of their lawn or landscaping more than the allowance. Many are giving up and replacing lawns with rock gardens or repurposing water from washing machines and dish use to keep plants alive.

Farm use has become more contentious, particularly for water-heavy crops. Throughout the state, however, there are different requirements based on water district, agricultural needs, access to ground water, and other particulars. Reportedly, the area where Selleck owns the ranch property is under mandatory reductions as high as 36 percent.

“We have a massive call for supply reduction in our service area, and those supplies that are remaining should rightfully be used by those who have invested in the water system,” Calleguas water district manager of resources is quoted as saying in The Daily Beast. “This is not a drought-shaming issue,” he pointed out. “This is a legal issue.”

Tom Selleck’s representatives have not commented publicly about the lawsuit filed in parched California that accused of him and his wife of water theft. As the historic drought continues, however, it becomes more and more obvious who is getting access to water and who is not. So, water use records for his ranch should show whether those avocados are thriving in spite of the required cutback. Time and the courts will tell.

Written and edited by Dyanne Weiss

Los Angeles Times: Did ‘Magnum P.I.’ star Tom Selleck steal truckloads of hydrant water? A real P.I. was on case
The Daily Beast: Read the Court Documents Accusing Tom Selleck of Pulling Off a California Water Heist
Entertainment Weekly: Tom Selleck is being sued for allegedly stealing water in California