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$10,000 in metal grates stolen in Clifton

February 15, 2011 2:40:13 PM PST
The cost of metal has risen by about 40% in the last year, making it a hot item for thieves.

Some parking garage grates were just replaced Tuesday after being stolen last week.

"Big expense and a big inconvenience," said Robert Foster, of the Boys and Girls Club.

Robert Foster is supposed to be spending his days helping kids at the Boys and Girls Club in Clifton.

Instead, for the last week, he's had to shell out thousands of dollars to replace storm drain grates that were stolen out of the non-profit's parking lot.

"Times are tough, people are looking for anything they can to make a buck," Foster said.

Police say 33-year old Winford Yarosh stole 71 storm drain grates in the last month in Clifton and sold them for scrap metal in a local yard.

He apparently went to great lengths to remove the grates, which weigh about 50 pounds each.

"They had a pick up truck and a crowbar to get them out of the ground," said Detective Captain Robert Rowan of the Clifton Police Department.

The missing grates created a real hazard for people walking.

It's enough trouble getting around these days with the snow and ice, now people here in Clifton have to be careful not to fall into one of the many holes.

Some of the grate thefts affected Clifton's most vulnerable citizens, like the kids at the Boys and Girls Club and the elderly at the Senior Horizons housing complex.

In a separate incident last fall, several bronze plaques were pried off memorials at Clifton's Main Memorial Park, in yet another example of how the high cost of metal is driving these crimes.

In all, $10,000 worth of metal grates was stolen.

The grates cannot be returned because they've already been melted down.

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