Thieves are working extra hard to steal an unusual item in the Dundalk and White Marsh areas.
Over a four-day period earlier this month, about 12 storm drain grates were stolen in the two communities, according to Baltimore County Police Department officials.
The grates, which are about four feet long and one foot wide, weigh about 130 pounds each, according to Det. Justin Warnick of the department's scrap metal team.
Because the grates are large and heavy, it's likely there's more than one person involved with the thefts, department spokeswoman Louise Rogers-Feher said.
"And we believe they are putting the grates in a vehicle nearby," she said.
The grates do not have any particular markings.
Police officials believe the covers are being scrapped for cash, and have alerted county recyclers to be on the lookout for the stolen items, Rogers-Feher said. Photographs of the grates have also be distributed to media outlets and scrap dealers and recyclers.
In the Dundalk community, grates have been stolen on School Avenue and Searles Road behind the Merritt Point Shopping Center.
There was one report of property damage because of a missing grate, Rogers-Feher said.
A School Avenue resident's vehicle dropped into an open hole missing its grate. The vehicle was damaged, but there were no injuries reported, according to the spokeswoman.
Police officials are asking residents to be on the lookout for such thefts.
"We want residents to be the best witnesses they can be," Rogers-Feher said. "Get a vehicle description, the tag number and a description of the people, if possible."
Residents should call 911 if they see such a crime.
"It's time sensitive and we want to get officers there as quickly as possible," Rogers-Faher said. "This is a relatively new trend and we want to stop it."