Manhole cover theft
Manhole cover theft is the phenomenon of manhole covers being stolen, usually for resale as scrap. Long considered to be a childish prank or simple vandalism, this type of theft is often expensive to municipalities, and dangerous to their residents. In recent years, the theft of manhole covers for financial reasons (i.e. to sell them when scrap metal prices are high) has also become more common.
India and China
In China Shakes the World, James Kynge describes the phenomenon:
...in the several weeks beginning in mid-February 2004, when, slowly at first but with mounting velocity, manhole covers started to disappear from roads and pavements around the world. As Chinese demand drove up the price of scrap metal to record levels, thieves almost everywhere had the same idea. As darkness fell, they levered up the iron covers and sold them to local merchants, who cut them up and loaded them onto ships to China. The first displacements were felt in Taiwan, the island just off China's southeast coast. The next were in other neighbors such as Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan... Wherever the sun set, pilferers worked to satisfy China's hunger. More than 150 covers disappeared during one month in Chicago. Scotland's "great drain robbery" saw more than a hundred vanish in a few days. From Montreal to Gloucester to Kuala Lumpur, unsuspecting pedestrians stumbled into holes.
- "Woman falls down sewer after thieves steal drain cover". The Telegraph. 16 Nov 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
- Ryan, Susan (2012-06-10). "Manhole covers and memorial plaques: what’s being stolen in the recession?". TheJournal.ie. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
- "China manhole thefts prove deadly". BBC Online. 2004-01-29.
- "10,000 manhole covers vanish - Fingers pointed at Growing craze for Drugs, SNAP lottery". The Telegraph (Kolkata). September 7, 2004.
- "Putting a lid on rampant manhole theft". CNN (Beijing). Mar 15, 2005. Archived from the original on 2005-03-20.
- Muir, Hugh (25 October 2004). "Manhole covers vanish in the night". The Guardian (guardian.co.uk).
- Tony Ricciuto. "Stolen manhole covers put 'lives at risk'". niagarafallsreview.ca.
- Whitehead, Shelly (2004-12-25). "Manhole covers disappearing: Thefts may be tied to high resell". The Kentucky Post (E. W. Scripps Company). Archived from the original on 2006-05-11.
- New manhole covers to beat the vandals (City of Johannesburg)