MSD: More thieves target storm grates - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

MSD: More thieves target storm grates

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James Guest James Guest
Guest caught the act on camera. Guest caught the act on camera.
MSD said more thieves are stealing storm grates for scrap metal. MSD said more thieves are stealing storm grates for scrap metal.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It's a big and sometimes dangerous problem that's costing you.  The Metropolitan Sewer District said more thieves are stealing storm grates for scrap metal.

One Louisville home owner who actually caught a thief red handed. It happened Monday morning across from Blake Elementary School in Okolona. "I heard a couple of loud bangs," recalled homeowner James Guest. Guest lives in the flood prone Okolona neighborhood of Woodfield Commons.

He looked at his home security camera screens and saw a guy getting out of a dark pick-up truck and going right toward the storm grates in his yard.  Guest explained, "He came to this grate right here and put it in his truck." The only problem for the thief? Guest's home security cameras recorded his every move.

On camera you can see the man picking up the 65-pound grate and throwing it in the back of his truck. Guest shouted at the man from his second story window.

           Guest: "Put that back please, you're on camera! "

           Thief: "Huh?"

As the man is being recorded, he claims to work for MSD.  Guest wasn't buying his story.

          Guest: "What are you doing with that?"

          Thief: "Cleaning them (storm drains) out."

          Guest: "I don't see no signs on your truck that say you work for the city."

Guest tells the man he's on camera and is being recorded so he needs to put the grate back. Surprisingly, the man follows his orders.  MSD tells us, besides being a costly issue, stealing grates is also dangerous because a child could fall in the uncovered areas.

They said thieves are rotating Louisville neighborhoods stealing the grates that cost up to $120 and then they turn around and sell them for about $5 each.

Guest, a former store theft protection officer said the man did get away with his neighbor's storm covers. He posted a warning letter on his storm grates to let other would be thieves know about the threat of being caught on camera.

Guest also called Louisville Metro Police and did one other thing. "I called every scrap yard I could find on the Internet in Louisville and Southern Indiana." He gave them a description of the dark green/or black Dodge Ram truck with an extended four-door cab and the 5'8-to 5'9 white male with a muscular build sporting a long mullet hair style.

Guest said thieves are also stealing manhole covers in the neighborhood. One night a few weeks ago, he drove right into one damaging his van. "It's ridiculous," Guest said of the thefts.

MSD investigators said there are scrap yards that will not accept the obviously stolen storm grates. Scrap operators who are caught can be charged with receiving stolen property. MSD officials ask if you see someone in an unmarked vehicle taking a storm grate get their license plate number then call police and call MSD at 540-6000.

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