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Thieves targeting citys storm drains in Benton Harbor

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Scrap metal thieves are reaching a whole new level. According to Benton Harbor Public Works, stealing grates from the city’s storm drains is becoming a growing trend.

“I always take this corner, all the way around,” said Laura Hill driving around North Fair Avenue Wednesday afternoon. Fair Avenue is one of many streets that have seen grates go missing.  

“Yeah, it worries me,” said Hill. “I could tear up my vehicle or tear up my tires and rims and stuff.”

Hill said if she took the corner too tight it would be devastating for her car but worse if a child fell inside. “The kids could fall down through there.”

Another missing grate is by Shondise Scott’s house on Summit Drive. “It’s about three, 4-feet deep,” she said looking into the drain. “It’s a mess.”

Scott said her family and kids have been told to stay away from the hole. “We don’t really come outside over here.”

According to Darwin Watson with Public Works, along with scavenging vacant building scrap thieves are now hitting up drains to collect any metal they can find. Watson said the city is now welding grates onto drains to keep thieves from striking.

A forty pound grate made with cast iron is worth about $6.

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