A manhole cover in Bridgeport, Conn., May 22, 2014. Photo: Ned Gerard

Manhole cover theft is the phenomenon of manhole covers being stolen, usually for resale as scrap. Long considered to be a childish prank or simple vandalism, this type of theft is often expensive to municipalities, and dangerous to their residents. In recent years, the theft of manhole covers for financial reasons (i.e. to sell them when scrap metal prices are high) has also become more common. Manhole covers cost about $300 each, and fetch about 10 percent of that value when sold as scrap.

The state legislator who introduced a bill seeking to crack down on scrap metal thieves said he was moved to do so after more than 60 storm water grates were stolen in his hometown. The bill was approved by the General Assembly and is awaiting the governor’s signature. David Bednarz, spokesman for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, said the bill is being reviewed by Malloy and his staff. It would fine scrap dealers who accept municipal property without authorization when it takes effect Oct. 1.

“Proof of ownership, including letters of authorization, is one of the many ways to help deter metals theft of public property and is a responsible business practice,” Mills wrote in an email. “Recyclers also encourage local officials, particularly law enforcement, to build personal relationships with nearby scrap yards, mark municipal property to help with identification and use ScrapTheftAlert.com, a free online investigative tool for police.”

Read the entire article here: ctpost.com/news/article/Cities-to-get-protection-from-metal-thefts