Manhole Covers Missing in Martinsville - WSET.com - ABC13

Manhole Covers Missing in Martinsville

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Reporter: Heather Rosenbaum | Videographer: RJ Burnette

Martinsville, VA -- Police say that six to eight of the manhole covers have been stolen in the past several weeks from locations all around the city of Martinsville.

Fortunately, no injuries or accidents have been reported. But the City Manager warned the city council of the problem Tuesday night  because as he says, it is a major safety concern. 

Martinsville residents are watching their steps a little more closely now that manhole covers keep disappearing.

"I think it's terrible. Who would think of such a thing? It's bad," said Kay Wood, a Martinsville resident.

"It could be a problem if you are not paying attention," said Harold Gravely, a Martinsville resident.

Authorities say manhole covers have been disappearing around the city. When you add the cost of the cover and the manpower to replace it, it can be a $400 price tag for the city.

"With our budget the way it is with expenses and the projects we have going on, that's an expense that we can't afford much of," said Leon Towarnicki, the interim city manager.

But the cost is much higher, when you add in the dangers of a 30 inch diameter, 15 foot deep hole in the middle of the sidewalk or on the street.

"If it's a deep manhole then somebody is going to get injured or perhaps even worse," said Towarnicki.

"A major accident could occur from someone striking it and losing control of their vehicle," said Cpt. Eddie Cassady with the Martinsville Police Department.

City officials think that the thieves may be stealing the 100-pound cast-iron covers because of their weight.

"Just speculation is they would be using those units to add weight to something else they may be recycling," said Towarnicki.

But whatever their use, locals just worry about the consequences of one wrong step.

"I never think about that. It's bad, but now, yes," said Wood.

Police say that this crime can be considered a felony for larceny. They ask that if you see or know anything about this to call (276) 63-CRIME.

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