April 9, 2009

Thief targeting Atlanta storm grates

Georgia authorities said a thief has stolen about 100 storm grates -- each weighing 200 pounds -- from Atlanta expressways to sell as scrap metal.

The Georgia Department of Transportation said the perpetrator, believed by investigators to be a black man in his 50s or 60s, first started taking the cast-iron storm grates in October and would commonly leave a piece of cardboard or plywood over the open hole, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Thursday.

We think he did that to disguise the fact the grate was stolen, not because he was worried about somebody falling in the hole, said William Green, lead investigator on the case for the transportation department.

Officials said the man would not get much money selling the grate covers as scrap metal.

All I can say is, times must be tough, said Georgia Department of Transportation spokesman Mark McKinnon, to steal something that weighs that much that is worth about eight dollars.