Officials: culvert thefts costly to more than just budget

By: Paige Quiggins Email
By: Paige Quiggins Email

Police said people are stealing metal, even entire culverts, just to make a quick buck.
Perry County officials said it's costly and could even put lives in jeopardy.

Officials said these thefts are nothing new, but the one found on Monday was even more concerning. County officials said they are fed up and plan to hunt down those responsible.

Perry County Judge Executive Denny Ray Noble said they strike just about everywhere.

“Cemeteries, they are digging pipes out of the middle of the road and selling them for scrap,” said Noble.

Police were called to Lower Second Creek on Apr. 9 where half of a culvert was cut from beneath Flat Gap Road. Those investigating the incident said a job this size took some time.

“The culvert was cut open, it looks like several times,” said Chief Don Howard of the Perry County Police Department.
“I would say it has been done a few times in the past by the way it looks.”

Noble said he has never seen anything like it.

“It is a huge pipe, probably six thousand dollars,” said Noble.
“It will probably cost ten thousand to put it back, so it's really expensive.”

Noble said if someone is caught it will be up to the judge to decide their fate.

Noble said whoever did it used some sort of cut torch because they left the oxygen and acetylene tanks to power the machine behind. Noble and Howard said it leaves a jagged edge on the metal once it is cut which is very sharp and if anyone gets in contact with the cut culvert, they could get seriously hurt.

“When they cut up underneath the culvert like that, it gives the road a chance to slip off there and when you travel up and down that road there, that road becomes unstable and cracks,” said Howard.

Noble said he believed lives could be endangered by the sharp metal edges in the neighborhood creek. He said they will not give up until someone is held responsible.

“We are not going to tolerate it, they are endangering people's lives and if someone goes down into this hole now they are going to get killed,” said Noble.
“It is very, very dangerous.”

Howard said they plan to prosecute anyone involved. Howard said he has seen this before and he does not believe people understand the possible problems stealing metal can cause.

“I don't think they think, to be honest with you,” said Howard.
“I think they see an opportunity to earn some money and they just go ahead and do it.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police.

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