KENT, Wash. – Someone has stolen nearly 40 storm drain grates and manhole covers from streets and businesses in Kent in the past month, presumably to be sold as scrap metal.
The grates prevent large objects from getting into the system. The city says it's worried about this crime because it creates a huge safety issue.
"If a car hits a storm drain or manhole with no cover over it, then it can cause significant damage to the car," Kent’s Utilities Superintendent Greg Reed said in a press release. "Also if we have pedestrians walking or even children playing they could actually fall into a 20 feet deep hole."
These thefts are no small feat. The grates weight 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.
The city is now taking measures to secure the remaining 36,000 grates and manhole covers. Replacing the ones that have been stolen will cost at least $127 each.
Anyone with information on the thefts is asked to call the Kent Police Department Tip Line at 253-856-5808. To report a missing grate or cover, contact Public Work Operations at 253-856-5600.