PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Manhole covers are being stolen across the city of Providence, posing a serious hazard to the public.
We've learned that hundreds have been stolen over the past couple of years, and about 50 are missing right now. The city tells us they're struggling to keep up with the thefts and replace them all.
The thefts are leaving gaping holes in the middle of streets and on sidewalks, presenting a dangerous threat for pedestrians and motorists. Construction barrels can be seen in many areas covering the manholes.
Thieves are stealing the heavy covers and cashing them at scrap yards, where they'll fetch about $15 apiece.
"Each manhole is worth about $250, and we have lost hundreds and hundreds of these, probably well into the tens of thousands of dollars cost to the city," said Department of Public Works Acting Director William Bombard.
The city tells us they've started a new initiative to have "The City of Providence" imprinted on the new covers, hoping to deter thieves from trying to cash in on them.
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