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Metal thieves graduate from storm drains to older cars

March 4th, 2012 11:26 pm by Matthew Lane

Metal thieves graduate from storm drains to older cars

Contributed photo Detective Martin Taylor with the Kingsport Police Department said the city is seeing a rash of curb drains being stolen, noting that 18 were recently located at a recycling company in Weber City after a man and woman attempted to sell

KINGSPORT — Thieves are stealing cars, having them scrapped, and using the money to buy drugs.

At least according to the Kingsport Police Department, which has been investigating a number of metal thefts over the past couple of months.

Kingsport officials say they’ve been seeing an uptick in the theft of storm drain grates in recent months. Ronnie Hammonds, streets and sanitation manager, said the city has had about 35 of the grates stolen since December. The grates are the ones you see in the roadways with slots to allow stormwater to drain through.

Hammonds said the grates range from 60 pounds to between 150 to 200 pounds, with the thefts taking place across town and in no particular location.

“Evidently, they’re just driving up, opening up their trunk, and a couple of guys are throwing it in and driving off,” Hammonds said.

Most of the thefts have been of the smaller grates, costing about $100 each. The larger ones cost $250 to $300 each. Hammonds said about $5,000 worth of grates have been stolen.

“There’s no way to secure them. We have to have access to the storm lines, and we can’t really bolt them down,” Hammonds said.

Detective Martin Taylor with the The KPD is encouraging motorists to always lock their doors and park in well-lit areas to make it as difficult as possible for thieves to steal their vehicle.

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