Stolen scrap metal a growing problem

Some local folks are taking desperate measures just to get by.

They're scrounging for scrap. Some financially strapped people are stealing it and businesses are losing millions because of it.

In Northern Kentucky, they're picking up sewer grates out of the street.

"To replace these it will cost the city a hundred dollars a piece and we are missing eight of 'em," said Det. Travis Brown with the Fort Wright Police.

And that's just in Fort Wright, where they recovered two being sold for scrap.

In Fort Thomas they're missing a dozen. The Northern Kentucky Sanitation District Number One, which includes Covington, Newport, Dayton and Southgate, they're missing almost twenty sewer grates and manhole covers. If it's metal, and sits in the street, desperate scrappers are after it.

"Relatively easily a person can go to one of three states to any number of dealers to scrap," said Lt. Mark Dill with Fort Thomas police.

The grates weigh between one and two hundred pounds. But some scrap yards are working to make it harder for people to sell the stolen goods and get their ten or fifteen bucks.

At River Metals in Newport they have security policies in place to keep scrappers honest about what they're bringing in to cash in on. They say they will not buy metal if the seller doesn't have a drivers license and they get photos of the material on the scale and photos of people at ATMs getting their money.

All so that the scrap yard avoids buying the stolen grates that leave a hole and a hazard, in city streets.

This is also very dangerous for everyone else on the roads. An auto body shop said it could easily do a few thousand dollars in damage to a car, and imagine if you stepped in one of the holes left behind. It could cause some pretty serious injuries. Corey McConnell