Storm drain thefts on the rise in Marana

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Storm drain covers have become a hot commodity for thieves in Marana and cops are seeing them disappear left and right. With the monsoon coming soon, police worry someone might get hurt stepping into an open hole.

It has become a familiar story, vandals taking copper wire and selling it for scrap.

But now thieves are starting to go after other metals. And that could be a concern to residents.

"We've seen an increase of these thefts from May up until June," said Sgt. Tim Brunenkant with the Marana Police Department.

With the price of steel rising, these metal storm drains have been disappearing from the town of marana.

In fact more, about 90 of them have been stolen in the past two months from the Continental Ranch and Arizona Pavillion area.

"They're very high priced items, they cost about $300 a piece so we're talking about $30,000 and above of items stolen," said Sgt. Brunenkant.

"Our belief is that someone is taking these and taking them to scrap yards for money," said Brunenkant.

Weighing about 200 pounds, crooks could get $20 for one drain. After stealing 90 of them and adding up the total it's easy to see why they're going after them.

"It costs a lot of money to replace them.  It's a risk to the public if someone is walking or driving and they fall in or drive over these.  It can cause serious injury as well as damage to a car," said Brunenkant.

Marana police have an idea of when they are being stolen but can't be at every storm drain around the clock. They're asking for the public's help in finding these thieves.

"Hopefully we can catch someone taking these and bring them to justice," said Brunenkant.

Sergeant Brunenkant says detectives are checking with scrap yards around town on the theory that the thieves may be trying to make money on the metal. But so far there are no reports of anyone bringing in the storm drains.