Stolen Storm Grates May Pose Road Hazard

Thieves across the country are stealing the covers to holes that are 10 or more feet deep, which can be dangerous for pedestrians and drivers alike.

Motorists and pedestrians may have a new hazard to watch the road for: missing metal storm drain grates. Thieves across the country are taking the grates from the ground and exposing the storm drain, a possible hazard if not detected.

These grates, that weigh from 200 to 300 pounds and cover drains with drops more than 10 feet, have been stolen from communities nationwide. They range from 4 to 5 feet wide and can be easily taken when a pair of thieves hidden by their pulled-over car at night.

There have been cases in New York, Philadelphia, and Oregon. But Georgia has seen the worst of this trend, with about 600 grates stolen in and around Atlanta in the past few months. Investigators even said that the culprits might be posing as utility or road workers while they steal the grates.

If sold at junkyards for scrap metal, the grates would not likely fetch more than $20. However, if sold to out-of-state developers, they could be worth around $200.   

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