Metal thieves target catch basins - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Metal thieves target catch basins

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Metal thieves are putting you in danger by stealing catch basin lids and manhole covers. Dozens have gone missing in Albany, in the last month, big openings over deep holes. City leaders have to spend big bucks to try to prevent the thefts.

Now city leaders are asking the community and salvage yards to help stop these costly and dangerous thefts.

Just on the alley off Westgate Drive the bold thieves took six of the catch basin lids, leaving open each of the holes, some more than 12 feet deep. Officials call the metal theft problem in the last month huge.

"They are taking these to salvage yards and selling them trying to make money. They are doing anything they can to make a buck with it," said Albany Public Works General Supervisor George Haggerty.

Public works has run out of replacement lids. Now instead of a lid, they are replacing them with an entire structure where the lid is attached to the base permanently with a big hinge system. And it cost three times as much.

"Our old cover. It's $120. To replace it, to keep them from stealing, because they will have to steal the whole structure. This is going to run you $390," Haggerty said.

The old catch basin lids say City of Albany in the metal, while the newest ones have the Turtle symbol of the city printed in. City leaders have contacted the metal recycling businesses to be on guard for them, but they are also asking the community to help keep watch for the metal thieves.

"If the citizens see anyone messing with these, or manhole covers. We have the same problem with manhole covers. Or anything that's not pertaining to their life. Please report them. Call code enforcement or the police department," Haggerty said.

Replacing the catch basin lids costs a lot of tax money, and that means everyone has a reason to protect them from metal thieves. Those lids weigh more than one hundred pounds. But the thieves will only get a couple of bucks for them at the metal recycling center. Not much money to create such a danger to everyone else.

If you see an open manhole or catch basin, report it immediately by calling 311, Or CRIMESTOPPERS at 436-TIPS.

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