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Manhole covers missing in Quincy

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By Alice Du Pont

         Thieves have cost Quincy residents thousands of dollars this year by taking manhole covers and catch basin lids. Not only are they costing money but they are putting citizens’ lives and limbs in danger.

         Public Works Director Willie Earl Banks said thieves are taking the important and expensive covers and lids at night.

          “There have to be two maybe three people working. The covers weigh upwards of 100 pounds. I’m pretty sure they’re taking them to salvage places where they get about 10 cents a pound. The covers cost the city about $100 each. We’ve already had to replace 18 in the past few months,” he said.

           Banks said he fears that someone will fall in and suffer injuries or even death. Most are about 5 feet deep but other can be as deep as 14 feet. And thieves are hitting all parts of the city. Their targets, so far, have been streets where there are few houses, poorly lit streets or dead end streets.

           “The police are staking out certain areas and if they are caught, they will be prosecuted. We’re also going to look at salvage yards because it is against the law to buy stolen goods,” Banks vowed.

           But Banks and Supervisor of Public Works Reggie Bell are taking a proactive role in preventing the thefts.

“We’ve started to spot weld the lids. It will take a lot more effort to pry them off,” Bell said