Albany storm drain lids targeted by metal thieves - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany storm drain lids targeted by metal thieves

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Albany city leaders say metal thieves are now endangering your life.

14 heavy metal lids for storm drain catch basins on one Albany street were stolen this week.

City officials say thefts of storm drain and manhole covers are getting worse.

Metal thieves stealing everything from air conditioners to plumbing and electric wiring out of vacant homes. Now thieves are stealing the storm drain lids by the dozen, leaving gaping holes by the street.

City sewer workers replace a storm drain catch basin lid. Employees mowing the grass on Evelyn Avenue Thursday discovered 14 of the 50 pound lids missing, exposing the huge holes under them.

Sewer Department General Supervisor George Haggerty said "Once they steal a top there is a hole that's wide open, and if someone was to fall in it, we're stuck with injuries."

Each of these lids cost a little more than one hundred dollars. So replacing the 14 stolen this week, and the 4 stolen a couple of weeks ago on Brookhollow Parkway, and the four stolen on Front Street a month ago is getting expensive.

Haggerty said "The citizens of Albany, taxpayers, they are the ones who are going to be paying to replace those."

The lid is over the storm drain to keep big debris like tree limbs out of the drainage system during a heavy storm, that could clog the pipes.

But the theft problem could get even more expensive if the problem escalates. Because of the age of the city's storm drain system, many of the structures and the lids are not manufactured anymore. If they can't find matching replacements for the lids, they would have change out the entire structure. So city leaders are asking you to help them stop these thefts.  If you see anyone tampering with a manhole cover or a storm drain lid, they want you to report it to 9-1-1 or the 3-1-1 city phone system.

Haggerty said "I think we all need to be aware of it, because it's an ongoing process, and it's going to take citizens to help stop it."

And city leaders say they worry these metal thefts will continue to get worse.

City leaders and police have contacted the metal recycling businesses in Albany, asking they report anyone bringing in these metal lids to sell.

City workers drive marked Albany city trucks and wear uniforms and safety vests if they're near those storm drains.

If you see anyone else around them, call 9-1-1.

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