Merced sees spike in stolen manhole covers

FRESNO, Calif.

City Leaders say those manhole covers in Merced weight about 100-200 pounds. They believe people are working in teams to steal those plates and trade them in for cash.

Thieves recently hit Kimberlee Thomas' front door and took off with the manhole cover at the end of her driveway. Thomas says it is easy to overlook the empty hole. She said, "Considering my dog runs around here all the time that would probably be a big worry and a concern."

Mike Conway with the City of Merced says these spaces left behind are dangerous. He worries drivers could hurt themselves and damage their cars. He's also concerned bicyclists and skateboards won't notice the 25-30 inch holes.

In the last week thieves stole 10 covers. City leaders are now asking people in the area to help put a cap on the crime. The public is asked to call the Merced Police Department if they have any information that could help police catch those metal thieves.

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