MIDWEST CITY, Oklahoma -- According to police, several storm drain grates have been stolen from across the metro.
Thirteen storm drain grates have been taken throughout Midwest City and more than 100 are reportedly missing in Oklahoma City, police said.
"We are very worried with this type of crime because it produces a huge public safety issue by the mere fact that when the storm drain grate is missing, there is a deep and wide hole," Chief Brandon Clabes said.
Clabes said storm drain grates are an important part of ensuring proper flow of water and traffic safety.
"If a car hits a storm drain with no grate over it, then it can cause significant damage to the car," Clabes said. "And also if we have pedestrians walking or even children playing they could actually fall into a deep and wide hole."
No injuries or accidents have been reported since the gates went missing.
"Because of the weight, it most likely takes more than one suspect to commit the crime and it is doubtful they are carrying the grates very far," Clabes said.
Clabes said the grates cost $90 to replace and weigh about 150 pounds.
"Our department is now marking the storm drain grates with specific identifiers to help police in their follow up investigations," said Vaughn Sullivan, Community Services Director. "Also, we are securing the grates to prevent future thefts."
"Typically, the grates will be taken to a recycle center and sold as scrap metal—the stolen items are hidden under a bunch of other scrap metal to add weight for the total sale," Clabes said.
If anyone has information regarding this crime, please contact the Midwest City Police Department at 739-1306.