Businesses warned that buying stolen manhole covers is a crime
Published: August 13, 2013
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ST. CROIX - Individuals going to the extreme to make a few extra dollars are continuing to endanger the health and welfare of other residents by stealing manhole covers, officials said Monday.
V.I. Waste Management Authority spokeswoman Stella Saunders said Monday that there has been a rash of stolen manhole covers across the island.
She said a number of unknown individuals are removing manhole covers, especially in low traffic or isolated areas, and selling them to local scrap metal companies.
The removal of the covers can cause a serious safety issue as unsuspecting persons, animals or vehicles could fall into these opened manholes, Saunders said.
In addition to putting out a warning to individuals to stop removing the manhole covers, the Waste Management Authority is issuing a warning to companies that purchase scrap metals that it is illegal to purchase any utility's property without the proper documentation. "Any company found to be in violation of their permit requirements will face legal implications," Saunders said.
Anyone observing the removal of manholes or being approached to purchase any manholes covers should contact the authorities, Saunders said.
The Waste Management Authority is the second utility company to report a rash of thefts affecting its business. Innovative Telephone officials reported during the last three weeks, and as recently as Wednesday, that on five separate occasions thieves have cut out sections of telephone cable and other equipment to sell for scrap metal and copper.
The thefts have caused interruption in service for hundreds of customers and thousands of dollars in manpower and equipment replacement for the companies.
Violations can be reported at 911 or by calling the anonymous tip line at Crime Stoppers USVI at 1-800-222-8477.
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