Thieves stealing storm-drain grates, manhole covers across Kent to sell as scrap-metal

Nearly 40 storm-drain grates and manhole covers have been stolen during the last month from neighborhood streets and businesses across Kent.

  • BY Wire Service
  • Friday, February 25, 2011 8:04pm
  • News
Thieves are taking storm-drain covers such as these across Kent and selling them as scrap metal.

Thieves are taking storm-drain covers such as these across Kent and selling them as scrap metal.

Nearly 40 storm-drain grates and manhole covers have been stolen during the last month from neighborhood streets and businesses across Kent.
The city’s Public Works and Police departments are asking the for the public’s help to solve the crimes, according to a city media release.
“We are very worried with this type of crime because it produces a huge public safety issue by the mere fact that when the storm-drain grate or manhole cover is missing there is a deep and wide hole,” said city utilities superintendent Greg Reed.
Reed said storm-drain grates prevent large objects from entering the system and are an important part of ensuring proper flow of water and traffic safety.
“If a car hits a storm drain or manhole with no cover over it, then it can cause significant damage to the car,” Reed said. “And also if we have pedestrians walking or even children playing they could actually fall into a 20 feet deep hole.”
Depending on the size, the grates weigh between 80 and 106 pounds. The manhole covers weigh 113 pounds.
“Typically, the grates will be taken to a recycle center and sold as scrap metal,” Reed said.
Reed added besides the hazardous situation and the cost of the new grates and covers, which is about $127 each or more if they have to be specially made, there’s also the time and cost of re-installing them.
“We’re now securing the grates to prevent future thefts but it’s a gradual process given the expense and number we’re dealing with,” he said. “We have about 20,000 grates and 16,000 manhole covers in the city.”
Anyone with information about the thefts may contact the Kent Police Tip Line at 253-856-5808.
To report a missing grate or cover, contact Public Work Operations at 253-856-5600.


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