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Police: Keep an Eye on Storm Drain Grates

In a new trend, thieves are stealing the 130-pound storm drain covers.

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."

John T. August 21, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Shouldn't the recyclers be questioning a storm drain grate being turned in for cash by anyone? I've been at several of these scrap yards in Baltimore delivering scrap wire from my company and can tell you that there is a lot of questionable stuff being scrapped by people that look like crack addicts. Why not post a police officer in front of these scrap yards to deter these individuals that are making a living - or feeding a drug habit off of this new and growing robbery?
Christine L. August 21, 2012 at 02:26 PM
We had a sewer cover stolen in the alley behind our house last Christmas which resulted in a 3 year old falling 20 feet in to the hole when he was out for a walk with his father in the evening. Fortunately he survived... Scrap yards should not take these items!!! This would halt this type of robbery immediately.
Buzz Beeler August 21, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Thant would be the first place I'd go because ultimately that were they get paid for their dastardly deeds. The question I have would be why not check the chiropractors in the area. Those thing a pretty heavy.
Alayna Strickland August 21, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Are people really this desperate? Sad world that we live in!
Martin Lemus August 22, 2012 at 04:47 AM
Cant identify a storm drain if its taken to a garage or something and cut up. I mean you take it, torch it into pieces, and mix it with other scrap metal....you wont think twice of it

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