Manhole cover thefts are increasing in our community posing a growing danger to pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists as well as escalating the City’s replacement costs for the cast iron covers.
The City’s Water Utilities Department and Public Works Department have replaced 31 manhole covers during the last year that were stolen from throughout our community. More than likely, these manhole covers are stolen for use as scrap metal. Regardless, the activity is illegal.
The theft of manhole covers is not a new phenomenon, but a growing problem across the country. Cities have reported injuries to pedestrians as well as damages to personal property. There have been no injuries to individuals or damages to property reported thus far in our community, but there is the potential for this happening since an overwhelming majority of these thefts are occurring in construction areas and new developments throughout the City.
Each time a manhole cover is stolen, cities incur a replacement cost. According to a recent CBS Chicago news report, “In Chicago, more than 300 missing covers worth more than $20,000 had to be replaced in the last two years.” The replacement of stolen manhole covers in Lee’s Summit has cost the City $7,000 in the last year, which includes raw materials and labor.
If you find a manhole cover or observe someone, other than a City employee, removing a manhole cover that is similar to the one depicted in the picture, please immediately contact the Lee’s Summit Police Department.