Updated 03/29/2012 04:30 PM
Police see new type of scrap metal theft
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MOHAWK VALLEY, N.Y. -- The theft of metal parts from empty houses to sell for scrap is nothing new, but police say criminals are now stealing hundreds of pounds of metal from right out in the open, causing hazards for drivers and pedestrians.
Utica Police say four sewer covers were stolen from South Utica streets this weekend. Similar thefts are being seen region wide. Six drain covers have been stolen from streets in Oneida since the beginning of the year.
Police in both cities say the rising price of scrap is likely to blame.
"They scrap hundreds of pounds of metal daily, so if they had, say, a manhole cover and it was hidden inside of a truck bed full of other metal, it may go unnoticed," said Utica Police Sgt. Steven Hauck.
"There's a safety hazard. If one of those is off and a child walks into one or rides a bike and goes into one or a car, the tire goes off and goes into one, it could cause an accident. People could get hurt," said Oneida Police Chief David Meeker.
Officials say the thefts happen overnight and ask anyone with information to call police.