Storm drain thefts safety hazard in Wake Forest, North Raleigh


It is a safety hazard that could be a nasty fall, with some of the drains being 10 feet deep.

"I think it's sort of stupid, I don't see any sense in doing that," said Wake Forest resident Tom Marks.

Marks lives in one of several Wake Forest neighborhoods where apparently storm drain grates are a hot commodity.

Orange cones dot the curbs where someone swiped one grate after another.

Police say each grate is weighing about 100 pounds.

"I bet they're worn out tonight," Marks said.

It is a lot of work for a crime with not a lot of payback.

The Wake Forest Public Information Officer says people usually steal the grates to sell to scrap yards.

"They really don't get much return on their investment, you can only get about $15 to $20 at a scrap yard," said Wake Forest police spokesman Bill Crabtree.

That $20 to them ends up costing the city and taxpayers $200 to replace each missing grate.

It is a costly and even dangerous crime.

"If someone is running, jogging, pushing their kid in a stroller, and not paying attention they could wind up in one of these holes and be seriously injured," Crabtree said.

So police are now asking for your help in solving this crime.

They say if you see anyone hanging around a grate without a City of Raleigh or City of Wake Forest logo to call police.

Police say the city replaces the grates as fast as possible, but told ABC11 it will be January before all are replaced.

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