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Manhole Covers Being Stolen For Cash

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:08 PM CDT

Be careful where you walk.  Crooks are stealing sewer covers, copping them for cash.

So far this year the Austin Police Department has investigated 130 metal thefts -- many of them manhole covers.

"The suspect was dressed in construction clothing.  We're finding that more and more they dress in construction clothing to look like they fit in," said Detective Matt Sanders.

Sanders said the outfit is making it more difficult for police officers to distinguish between a construction worker and a crook.

"Someone sees them back there picking up metal they assume they belong," added sanders.

That's exactly what happened earlier this week.  A sergeant pulled into a remote North Austin city facility and saw a man -- dressed in a hard hat and vest -- allegedly loading up his van with stolen manhole covers and other metals.

"That material is worth six to seven cents a pound so you're looking at $10 to $15 per manhole cover," said Jim Shapiro.

Shapiro is the owner of Austin Metal and Iron.  He's aware of the crafty crime and claims legitimate scrap yard owners are fighting back -- taking pictures of the person and the items -- protecting them in case the manhole covers are stolen.

State law requires scrap yard owners to also make a photo copy of the seller's identification and submit the information to the department of public safety within 48 hours.

By Alex Boyer

Manhole Covers Being Stolen For Cash

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