Con Edison issued a press release yesterday, informing New Yorkers that thieves have stolen more than 30 manhole covers in the last two months, leaving pedestrians and cars to deal with large gaping holes in the ground. They wrote:
Brazen thieves are endangering New Yorkers by stealing manhole covers at an alarming rate, and Con Edison is asking customers to help catch those responsible.
More than 30 manhole covers have been stolen in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx since early March, presumably by thieves selling the covers for scrap metal, and leaving lethal holes in streets and sidewalks. Con Edison is working closely with the NYPD on the problem.
“Stealing manhole covers is dangerous,” said Milovan Blair, Con Edison Vice President for Brooklyn-Queens Electric Operations.”Anyone who steals these covers creates a serious hazard for pedestrians and motorists.”
The company said witnesses have described individuals dressed in utility apparel, but without any Con Edison or other utility markings, prying open manhole covers using a car jack, loading the covers onto pick-up trucks, and then driving away.
The company said anyone who spots suspicious individuals working near manholes, or removing the covers, should call 911 immediately. They should also report any open manholes – even if they are barricaded – to Con Edison at 1-800-75CONED
According to the New York Times, 30 in two months is quite an alarming number given that, in a normal year, only two or three disappear. They also note that scrapper might get $30 from a dealer willing to take in obviously stolen goods, but Con Edison pays about $200 for the lids. The rise in costs, of course, are likely to be passed on to consumers.
One tipster, Auxil B., got in touch with Sheepshead Bites to let us know this scourge has already hit the neighborhood. A manhole cover recently went missing on East 28th Street, between Avenue V and Avenue W.