Local News

Dozens of Storm-Drain Grates Pilfered

Posted July 20, 2007

— About 200 storm-drain grates have been stolen in Durham since April, including 10 on Thursday alone, officials said.

"It takes some effort to remove these grates, so these thefts are blatant,” said Katie Kalb, director of the city Department of Public Works.

The grates weigh about 200 pounds each and measure either 2 feet by 3 feet or 15 inches by 63 inches, Kalb said.

Workers from the city Street Maintenance Division have placed makeshift covers over and traffic cones around the exposed holes until permanent covers can be installed, she said.

“Our residents need to be mindful of where they are walking to avoid falling into one of these uncovered stormwater catch basins,” she said. “If anyone sees a missing storm grate, we need them to report it to 911 immediately.”

Residents also have been asked to report any suspicious activity or people to police.


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  • C6-YA Jul 21, 2007

    Drive By

    Crystal Mangum said 3 lacrosse players stole them.

    That's way to funny!

  • olivedrabby Jul 21, 2007

    These aren't manhole covers, but instead, the grates that cover storm drain collection boxes. You will see them in the gutters along curbing, and when they are missing, there is a deep retangular hole that is a serious problem if you fall in.

  • terriersrfun Jul 21, 2007

    It's an everyday occurrence to read about someone stealing wiring, plumbing and now storm drain covers. We should get all these people together and let them demolish the run down buildings in the triangle. At least they make themselves useful.

  • djofraleigh Jul 21, 2007

    "Anyone else notice that 2 feet by 3 feet is no where close to 15 inches by 63 inches. Typo or someone can't do math."

    I think they are describing the two sizes that are being taken.

    I'm with the profit motive. So, put up a reward, and try to buy used ones in a sting.

    Two, make sure some nut isn't using them for some art work or for use on other construction sites. Manhole covers were being stolen in San Francisco for years and sold as art collectibles.

    Society has to have some sense of integrity to continue.

  • magnet man Jul 21, 2007

    Anyone else notice that 2 feet by 3 feet is no where close to 15 inches by 63 inches. Typo or someone can't do math.

  • electriceye Jul 21, 2007

    Why aren't we holding the metal recycling plants accountable for what they take in?

  • Rabid_Wolf_2 Jul 20, 2007

    steal the stink off of, er, manure?

    That cracks me up, sad thing is if a thief could sell the stink they would steal it.

  • ghimmy47 Jul 20, 2007

    There are 49,000 drainage structures, most with a manhole cover or grate in Durham. Tack welding them would take awhile, be VERY expensive and dangerous for the people doing it. It also would make it VERY hard to access many of them for maintenance. Newer ones do have serial numbers cast into them. Stop the buying and you stop the thefts.

  • raider Jul 20, 2007

    The City needs to mark the new grates some kind of way to ensure that they don't end up buying them again, like SailbadTheSinner said. I also think the City should TRY to get the junk ysrds/recyclers to work with them if/when people bring the grates in to try selling them.

  • meep Jul 20, 2007

    Crystal Mangum said 3 lacrosse players stole them.