BILLERICA (CBS) – A mother and son accused of trying to steal a sewer grate are facing charges.
On Saturday morning, an officer reported spotting the duo’s car parked in the middle of the road with its hazard lights on and a man struggling to drag the grate cover across the street.
The suspect jumped in the passenger seat of that stopped car and the driver took off.
The officer pulled over the car and found a significant amount of scrap metal in the car.
Nineteen-year-old Richard Canada and his mother 43-year-old Nancy Murnane were arrested and charged with attempting to commit a crime and larceny of more than $250.
Billerica Police Sgt. Roy Frost tells WBZ NewsRadio 1030 that he suspects the duo was planning to sell the storm drain cover to a salvage yard.
Web Extra: Raw Interview With Billerica Police Sgt. Roy Frost
The cast iron sewer grates typically weigh about 150 pounds.
Sgt. Frost notes that they would have only gotten about $18 for the cover.
Replacing the stolen manhole cover can be extremely costly to the town. The price of labor, police details, and a replacement cover can add up to $2,000.
There is also the danger an open manhole poses to the public.
“The public safety factor is just huge. People driving their car along would not have any reason to suspect, because there’d be no cone in the road or anything to let them know that there was a big hole in the ground,” Said Sgt. Frost. “The damage to your vehicle could be quite extensive and you could possibly have a significant accident. Not to mention if somebody is walking down the street and didn’t pay attention, they could fall right into the sewer grate.”
Billerica police say they had two other reports of stolen manhole covers in that same area in the past couple of weeks.