WKYT - Lexington - Headlines

Sewer grate thefts costing taxpayers big bucks

By: Angela Beavin, Andy Cunningham Email
By: Angela Beavin, Andy Cunningham Email

Police are investigating after close to a dozen sewer grates and manhole covers were stolen overnight in the area around Willard St. and Valley Ave. in Lexington.

Up and down streets in the area, gaping holes and sudden drop-offs are left behind where the covers and grates disappeared.

The acts of thieves leave both drivers and people out walking in harms way.

"When they're stolen out of the street it's a hazard to the traveling public. Also, the ones that are in the grass areas are a hazard to pedestrians," says Sam Williams, Director of the Lexington Division of Streets and Roads.

Road crews spent Thursday morning looking for more signs of theft in the area, and taking measurements to replace what thieves took.

Officials say the metal--made of iron and steel, can be pretty profitable.

"It's readily sellable at the scrap dealers," Williams says, "They have got some pretty good weight to them, which in turn has some value at the scrap yard."

And the cost to the city of replacing the missing grates and covers can run up to several hundred dollars a piece.

Officials say they plan to start marking sewer grates and manhole covers more clearly spelled out with the city's name, so thieves will have a much more difficult time trying to profit from stolen property.

City officials say these thefts are a growing problem. Last year around 30 sewer grates and manhole covers were stolen. Already 20 have been stolen this year.

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