STERLING, Conn. (WTNH) -- How mad would you be to fall into an open storm drain, or drive over one damaging your car? And then find out the reason the storm drain was open is because someone stole the cover to make some quick cash.
In the past two weeks seven storm grates were stolen in Sterling, in addition to one at the fire house. The chief tells News 8 they didn't notice it was missing right away because a piece of plywood was placed over the hole to cover up the theft.
A large grate was also swiped from a grill used for fundraisers and other cookouts at the fire house and the chief says it is going to be expensive to replace. It is not only an annoyance, but also in many cases a threat to public safety throughout Sterling.
"If a car was to hit one of these open holes they'd kind of pull a front end out from under a car," said First Selectmen Russell Gray.
Gray says it may be even more dangerous for folks on foot or riding a bike or motorcycle, especially at night when they might not notice the hazard.
"Whoever's on that vehicle, bicycle or motorcycle, is gonna hit their head," said Gray. "They're gonna be driven right into the ground and most likely dead."
The thefts are also costing the town and taxpayers $159 each to replace them. State Police did spot a stolen grate in one man's yard.
"If I could identify it I could have it," said Gray. "Obviously I couldn't identify it."
Now they may be able to. The town is marking the grates with green and yellow paint, so it can get them back if they are recovered by police.
"Most of the time I think they're stolen and they end up probably in Rhode Island," Gray said, "and then they're just gone."
The fire department is also planning on welding something to the grate so it an be identified if it's stolen again.
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