LOS GATOS, Calif. (KTVU) - Owners of a nudist camp in Los Gatos were arraigned on Monday for allegedly stealing water from a neighboring creek to keep their resort open.
If convicted, they could face up to three years in jail.
At a time when California is entering its fourth year of record breaking drought, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office said they want to use the case against nudist camp Lupin Lodge as an example.
"I think the message is for anybody," said Denise Raabe of the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office. "If we are in a severe drought, if you need water, you need to go through the appropriate steps to obtain that."
Owners Glyn Stout and his wife Lori Kay did not enter a plea.
They're charged with felony conspiracy and trespassing, accused of diverting water for three months last year from nearby Hendrys Creek.
The creek is owned by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.
"This is multiple times of trespassing to divert water. This isn't a one time incident," said Raabe. "They were told not to take water from Hendrys Creek."
Prosecutors said the couple removed water lines and have pictures of workers installing pipes for private use. The alleged theft is hurting wildlife and the public since the water ends up in the nearly empty Lexington Reservoir.
"Three years of drought, Hendrys Creek went dry as it crossed into the Lupin Lodge property," said Raabe. "With the fourth year I would assume the same thing is happening. It’s important no more diversions occur."
The couple declined comment but have reportedly said they've long used the creek to keep their water tank full to help with fire suppression and for topping off their skinny-dipping pool.
Prosecutors said Glyn Stout admitted to diverting five gallons per minute but they do not have an exact total of how much water was taken.
The criminal matter has not stopped business as the resort plans to celebrate 80 years of body acceptance and freedom next month.
Two lodge employees are facing the same charges and will be arraigned on Tuesday.