Thieves keep taking manhole covers in Gastonia, N.C., to sell as scrap metal, even with a new state law requiring business to document and photograph all metal they buy.
Gastonia officials told The Gaston Gazette that between 30 and 50 manhole covers have disappeared in the city this year.
Last month, a 66-year-old man spent 12 hours trapped underground until someone heard his cries for help after he fell into an open hole after hopping over a concrete barrier. City officials think the manhole cover protecting the hole was stolen.
With scrap metal going for about 10 cents a pound, the manhole covers are worth anywhere from about $9 to $30 apiece.
Businesses can be fined or eventually shut down for a week if they accept stolen scrap metal.
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