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In Philadelphia thieves are stealing iron manhole covers from roadways. This makes driving down the roads somewhat challenging, to say the least.

The city has started chaining them down, but I don't think this will be much of a deterrent. Other places have welded them in place, which does slow down maintenance.

The odd thing is that they aren't worth much and any scrap yard buying them has to know they are stolen.

Taking all the piping and electrical wiring out of foreclosed homes in the US is a rising trend as well.

Time to watch Mad Max again...

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Thu Jul 24th, 2008 at 04:07:26 PM EST
Here in Colorado Springs there is a thriving pawn shop and flea market industry that runs largely on stolen property. Two important sources of goods are the house construction industry (used tools) and the military bases in town (surplus military items). This has been going on for a long time, and at one point you could even go to the flea market and ask for specific "surplus" part, then return the following week and buy it.

A side effect of this is that the police department keeps a pretty good eye on the pawn shops and flea market dealers, and this spills over to the surplus metal market. I was at a metal store recently and asked about this, and they said that they get regular visits from the police department to remind them about the need to stay legal. The main recycling place here won't even buy copper any more.

So that brings up my question: What do you do with a stolen manhole cover or house plumbing pipes or street lamp wire? Somebody has to be the buyer. It's not like fuel that can be sold on a retail black market, because not many people are interested in manhole covers...

by asdf on Fri Jul 25th, 2008 at 10:36:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
situations like that you've usually got a scrap dealer lined up who's ready to crush and weigh them ahead of the aquisition. In the UK during the early 80's recession manhole theft was fairly common, as was the lead strip down the centre of Factory roofs. (I know of one case where the police caught a local ner-do-well with a roll of lead then had to wait three weeks for rain to find out whos roof it was missing from so they could charge him.)

One scrap dealer came up with the best plan. he got the contract for installing a selection of new streetlamps, and cut four feet from the bottom of them leaving only 6 inches  in the groud rather than the usual several feet to anchor against the elements, which was fine, till the first high wind. He might have got away with it if he hadn't been greedy and left the tubes standing in his yard for the metal price to go up.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jul 25th, 2008 at 10:44:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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