Williamsburg is a place with a lot of bikes and not always a whole lot of great street lighting at night. So, when a manhole cover in a bike lane is stolen, leaving behind just a deep hole, it creates a dangerous situation.
A bunch of Con Ed manhole covers have been stolen, at least thirty since early March in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. Officials say they are being stolen, apparently, to sell the cast iron for scrap.
"Stealing manhole covers is dangerous," said Milovan Blair, Con Edison Vice President for Brooklyn-Queens Electric Operations. "Anyone who steals these covers creates a serious hazard for pedestrians and motorists."
Why not lock the manhole covers down to make it harder to steal them? Well, when there's a fire down below, they can't afford the time to be fumbling with a lock.
Of course, an accident in an uncovered manhole presents its own set of problems.
Con Edison is working closely with the NYPD on the problem.
The company said witnesses have described individuals dressed in utility apparel, but without any Con Edison or other utility markings, prying open manhole covers using a car jack, loading the covers onto pick-up trucks, and then driving away.
The company said anyone who spots suspicious individuals working near manholes, or removing the covers, should call 911 immediately. They should also report any open manholes - even if they are barricaded - to Con Edison at 1-800-75CONED.
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