VIRGINIA

Manhole covers stolen in Fredericksburg

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Suspects have taken to stealing manhole covers in Fredricksburg. Six manhole covers went missing in the last two weeks.

(Image by user Joe Shlabotnik on Flickr)

“It's pretty dangerous, it's pretty ridiculous, you're taking the chance of causing a lot of accidents,” resident Barbara Foster said. Luckily, there have been no serious accidents.

“I think somebody's got a lot of time on their hands and needs to get busy working or something,” said resident Christine Burgess.

Each cover weighs 75 pounds and requires a crow bar to pull out of the ground. The local scrap metal plant won't accept them, so residents wondered why anyone would steal them.

“I think somebody's just playing pranks,” muses Kandra Orr.

Police say the thief probably sold or tried to sell the covers to a business outside the city. The cast iron is worth about $20.

“Somebody brings in metal and gets cash in return, that's generally what we see happening,” Fredericksburg Police spokeswoman Natatia Beldsoe said.

It costs the city $100 to replace each manhole cover, but because they're so heavy, shipping costs an additional $100.

“It's not an insignificant amount of money for us to replace these things,” Bledsoe said.

Police say whoever stole them targeted the downtown area. They're still looking for that ace in the hole, having yet to get any leads on a suspect.

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