Man With Large Wrench Suspected of Illegally Opening DC Fire Hydrants

An alert D.C. police officer cuffed Neema Kordestani after seeing that he looked like the man in photos sent by concerned citizens

A man carrying a large wrench was arrested near Union Station Monday night on suspicion of illegally opening fire hydrants.

Neema Kordestani, 34, was arrested after hydrants were opened in D.C. as many as 15 times in the past week, sending tens of thousands of gallons of water gushing onto streets.

Kordestani was charged with opening just one hydrant, but police are investigating whether he's responsible for other incidents. 

An alert D.C. police officer cuffed Kordestani after seeing that he looked like the man in photos sent by concerned citizens. 

The officer was driving along North Capitol Street NE when a police radio message said a man in dark clothing was opening hydrants. Soon after, the officer saw a man "holding a large wrench" walking into an Amtrak garage near Union Station. 

Kordestani, of Northwest D.C., was arrested without incident. He was charged with disorderly conduct and opening fire hydrants.

Four hydrants were opened Monday night in the Third Street Tunnel. Another was opened near the Walmart store on H Street. 

On Aug. 1, someone with Kordestani's same name posted on Facebook about letting water gush. 

"Anyone that's a human in the USA should open their front yard hose on full blast ... now. And 10 minutes a day daily for the next few weeks! Trust me," the post said. 

The Facebook user said he was from California, as Kordestani is. Police would not confirm whether the page belongs to the suspect. 

Opening hydrants may seem like a harmless prank, but it's illegal and it could put residents at risk in the event of a fire, officials say.

On Monday morning, someone opened a hydrant at 6th and H streets NE. Cellphone video shows a powerful stream of water crashing across the street. Water poured into the Whole Foods store nearby and forced a road closure.

A police report said a man wearing what appeared to be a fake D.C. government uniform opened the hydrant on H Street. 

In the past week, six hydrants have been opened in five locations in Northeast D.C., DC Water says.

"We don't know if this same individual has been hitting other hydrants, but there has been a rash of these in the last few days, and we're concerned," DC Water spokesman Vince Morris said Monday. 

Opening hydrants is dangerous, Morris said. If there's a fire, there's less water pressure for fire hoses.

In Northwest D.C., there have been been reports of a man going to homes and churches to turn on outdoor water spigots and leave them running.

In late August, a man said he saw a man open a hydrant at Varnum Street and Rock Creek Church Road NW. A photo shows a man in shorts and a T-shirt with his hand on the hydrant. News4 did not have information on whether police were aware of the photo or whether it's possible that Kordestani is the man in the photo.  

If you see someone opening a hydrant, call police.

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