If you follow shoplifting and theft stories, like I do, you know that there is just about nothing safe from being stolen. This has become especially true given the recent increase in the price of all metals.
I have blogged about metal thefts from houses, cemeteries, and even morgues. Here is a new item being stolen in New York and it is especially dangerous – manhole covers.
According to the New York Times, residents in Queens became suspicious of a man in the yellow vest using an automotive jack to lift a cast-iron manhole cover out of the street by himself.
He struggled to remove the heavy disc from the pavement, and then struggled to get it into a truck.
This used to be a very rare crime that has become increasingly common on the streets of Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx in the past several weeks. Con Ed says that more than 30 of its manhole covers — some weighing as much as 300 pounds and all bearing the utility’s distinctive markings — have disappeared since March. In a normal year, no more than two or three of the company’s covers go missing.
What kind of scrap dealer would pay for an item they knew was stolen? That is the crux of the whole problem – the scrap yards are totally corrupt. Big surprise, right?
Besides the cost and hassle of replacing the missing covers, Con Ed officials were concerned about the hazards that gaping holes in city streets could pose to pedestrians and drivers. This is seriously criminal activity!
Based on current commodity prices for iron, a stolen manhole cover might fetch more than $30.
Still, there appears to be a black market for the covers, which is troubling to a company that has more than 200,000 manholes in its network that distributes electricity, gas and steam throughout the city and the northern suburbs.
Hopefully, these criminals will be stopped soon. So far nobody has been seriously injured from the thefts, but that is bound to change if it keeps up. All that for $30! Perhaps New York theft class might keep people from stealing.