New law aims to stop manhole cover thefts


ATLANTA - The city of Atlanta has spent thousands of dollars to replace manhole and sewer covers stolen by metal thieves.

Channel 2’s Ryan Young learned about the new law aimed at slowing down the thieves.

City of Atlanta Deputy Watershed Commissioner Reginald Wells said hundreds of the various metal grates have vanished from all over the city.

“When you’re talking about hundreds of lids having to be replaced you can get into the tens of thousands,” Wells said.

The state has made it illegal to sell government property, including to recyclers and scrap yards.

City crews told Young the cost is not their biggest worry. Just last week a 2-year-old fell into a sewer opening in southwest Atlanta.

“To us, the most serious issue is public safety. Here, you have 24-inch openings. Typically that’s the smallest, some are as large as 36,” said one worker.

Atlanta taxpayers have spent a total of $65,000 in just three years just to replace the stolen and damaged lids.

Channel 2 Action News

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