Woman injured in fall into drain after cover stolen

Thieves target steel storm drain covers

By Glenna Milberg - Reporter

MIAMI SHORES, Fla. - A woman recovering from a fall through an uncovered storm drain may be the victim of thieves who target the metal for recycling money.

The office staff of Barry University's marketing department first noticed two missing grates last week on Northeast 116th Street just east of Second Avenue. They notified Miami-Dade Public Works to replace them and temporarily covered at least one of them with a platform of thin wood.

One of their co-workers arriving for work stepped on the wood and fell through. The woman was scheduled for surgery Friday.

A representative of Miami-Dade's Public Works Department said 30 metal grates were stolen in a rash of thefts two months in the northeast part of the county. They predict thieves try to recycle the steel for money. 

Chris Casey, who replaces doors, said recyclers pay about 11 cents per pound for steel. 

"They're probably about 100, 150 pounds. What are they getting? Eleven dollars, 15 bucks maybe,"  Casey said.

Public Works crews replaced the grates and welded them to the frame of the storm drains.

In 2010, the county Public Works Department recovered storm drain grates worth about $50,000. Police arrested two scrap metal dealers who they said bought the stolen grates, which were marked as property of Miami-Dade County.

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