Someone is stealing storm drain covers in Montco

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"It's hard to imagine, but I guess it speaks to the economic times that people are resorting to stealing things such as this," said Abington Township Police Deputy Chief John Livingood.

He is referring to storm drain covers.

As many as 18 have been stolen from neighborhoods in Willow Grove over the past 2 weeks.

Local authorities are sure the cast iron lids are stolen and sold for scrap, and Abington Township's Highway Director says finding replacement covers is getting tougher and tougher.

"The problem is, these lids are old style and some of the manufacturers who used to produce these are no longer in business," said Angelo Pontelandolfo.

Pontelandolfo says that for each lid these thieves are probably making $50. By comparison, it costs the township $200 to replace each one.

The public works department has already replaced the stolen covers, but there is still concern over what could happen if these thieves strike again.

"It's causing a potential safety problem because they're going to steal them at night. If someone's walking their dog or kids are walking by they could fall in these holes and get hurt," said Pontelandolfo.

In order to discourage this kind of crime, investigators are now urging scrap yard operators to NOT purchase sewer grates from anyone.

They are also asking neighbors to call 911 if they see any unusual late night activity in their community.

Willow Grove resident Sarah Davis says she is already on the lookout.

"Just to know somebody's that desperate to steal a cover off a sewer, it leaves some concern. If they would steal that, what else would they steal?" she said.

Anyone with information about these cases is asked to call the Abington Police Department.

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