Manhole cover theft | What’s up with that?
Beware open sewers.
My girlfriend stepped onto a manhole in Palmer Square Park and her legs fell partway in because the cover wasn’t secured. When we called the park district, they weren’t surprised it had been tampered with. There’s been a rash of manhole-cover thefts lately, the rep said. Why is this happening?—Alex, Palmer Square
“This has been a huge problem,” confirms Chicago Park District spokeswoman Zvezdana Kubat. “Manhole covers have been stolen from a number of parks.” The CPD believes thieves are snatching the cast-iron slabs to sell to scrap-metal yards. Missing manhole covers are nothing new. Not for nothing does the phenomenon have a dedicated Wikipedia page. Over the last three years, according to Department of Water Management spokesman Tom LaPorte, the city has had to replace 389 covers at a cost of more than $26,000. In February, a suburban trio of alleged thieves was arrested and led police to a scrap yard, where officers found 200 covers and grates. To reduce similar thefts and prevent the public safety hazard created by an open sewer, Kubat says, the CPD is pilot testing covers made of fiberglass.
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