Police Go After IIlegal Water Vendors on Las Vegas Strip

LAS VEGAS -- Metro Police are targeting unlicensed vendors who sell bottled water on the Las Vegas Strip saying some of that water could be unsafe.

Officers say they've seen used bottles repackaged and resold with tap water to thirsty tourists looking for a cool drink on a warm day.

Metro Police are using plainclothes officers to put a stop to the practice which can be profitable for the vendors who typically charge $1 a bottle. The unlicensed vendors tend to sell the water bottles out of portable coolers.

"Not so good," is how one tourist described the bottled water she had just purchased and sampled.

Clark County banned selling water more than a year ago saying vendors must have a business license. There is no way to tell where the unlicensed vendors are getting the water to fill the bottles and whether it is safe to drink.

"I don't know if it's tap water put into a used bottle," said Doug Dente, who works on Strip.

Police say the water sellers have figured how to get around the licensing law. Instead of charging for the bottled water, they will accept a donation.

"I would stay away from the water," advised Metro Police Lt. James Larochelle. "Plainclothes operations give us an advantage. It allows an officer to get closer to people engaging in this type of activity without them being aware."

Larochelle added disputes between the water sellers leads to turf wars.

"Fistfights between the two water sellers, other violence, intimidation, those type of things," he said.

 


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