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Jul 4, 2011 10:01 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP

Thieves stealing metal grates from Hammond streets

HAMMOND, La. (AP) - Thieves are stealing metal drainage gates from Hammond streets and sidewalks and officials believe they are being sold to recyclers.
The Daily Star reported public works director Buddy Ridgel said the problem seems to be accelerating.
About two dozen have been taken recently, leaving 24-inch-by-24-inch holes in the middle of sidewalks or near streets, Ridgel said.
"It makes for a very unsafe situation for our residents," he said.
The 100- to 150-pound grates are made out of cast iron and sometimes aluminum, Ridgel said, and they can bring a good price at scrap metal yards.
A spokesman for Florida Scrap Industries, the current rate for cast iron is $180 per ton. This puts the value of each grate at $9-$13.

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