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Film

Tom Selleck was once accused of stealing thousands of gallons of water for his avocado farm

Tom Selleck is one of the definitive American icons of the 1980s, with many people still referring to him as the iconic character he portrayed in the famous American crime drama television series Magnum, P.I., a show which subsequently transformed him into a superstar. While Selleck has gone on to appear in other popular productions such as Friends, his image in popular culture has been crystallised as the moustached private detective.

The show was so popular that it often ranked among the most viewed television series in America, Selleck put in a career-defining performance as Thomas Magnum, a private investigator who resides in the guest house of a sprawling estate and only decides to work on cases that are of some personal interest to him.

It was Orson Welles who voiced the unseen owner of the house in multiple episodes, an interesting fact that adds positively to the legacy of the show. There were many sequels which were being planned for Magnum, P.I. but none came to fruition until CBS announced that they were going ahead with a remake of the show with Jay Hernandez in the lead role.

In 2015, an interesting incident was reported by the newspapers when the Calleguas Municipal Water District decided to file a lawsuit against Selleck. He was accused of stealing around 1.4 million gallons of water to the Hidden Valley Municipal Water District in order to have adequate resources for the maintenance of his avocado farm.

While such reports are not at all uncommon when it comes to the whims of celebrities, this particular case received a lot of attention because Selleck is alleged to have pilfered the water during the drought season in California which was the driest in its history at the time. Ironically, the district actually had to hire a real private investigator to get to the bottom of the case and spent nearly $22,000 in fees.

Despite the district sending multiple letters to Selleck’s house, a truck kept taking water from the fire hydrant and delivering it to the actor’s estate. Selleck decided to settle the legal dispute before it escalated by paying the private investigator’s fees to the district without admitting that he had committed fraud. While a public official said that the water was paid for, the district manager confirmed that it was illegal to transport water out of the district even if it has been legally purchased.

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