Blount County sheriff warns to look out for missing storm grates

Blount County sheriff warns to look out for missing storm grates, asks for help in finding suspects

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When a drain cover is stolen, it leaves a hole that children, animals or even grown adults could easily fall into. Drivers rolling over the holes could also cause serious damage to their vehicles. (source: BCSO) When a drain cover is stolen, it leaves a hole that children, animals or even grown adults could easily fall into. Drivers rolling over the holes could also cause serious damage to their vehicles. (source: BCSO)
"I think it's very dangerous. Me and my kids we play a lot of ball out here, hitting it, and when the ball rolls down there to the drains, if they go down there and reach for the ball and fall in the drain, that's very unsafe for them," Harrison said. "I think it's very dangerous. Me and my kids we play a lot of ball out here, hitting it, and when the ball rolls down there to the drains, if they go down there and reach for the ball and fall in the drain, that's very unsafe for them," Harrison said.
"I don't understand it. It's a bizarre thing. I would think they would be really heavy to get into their car," Felch said. "I don't understand it. It's a bizarre thing. I would think they would be really heavy to get into their car," Felch said.
By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter

BLOUNT COUNTY (WATE) - The Blount County Sheriff's Office is warning people to watch out for missing storm drain grates. They say they're being stolen to trade for money at scrap yards.

The areas where the most thefts have occurred include subdivisions near Morganton Road and Doc Norton Road. They also say 27 have been stolen along U.S. Highway 321 West from Maryville to Loudon County.

"Don't steal them because it's unnecessary, try to find something else to get money for," said Blount County resident Maurice Harrison said.

Harrison's daughter loves riding her bike around the area, but he's worried about what would happen if she ran over an empty hole left by a stolen grate.

"I think it's very dangerous. Me and my kids we play a lot of ball out here, hitting it, and when the ball rolls down there to the drains, if they go down there and reach for the ball and fall in the drain, that's very unsafe for them," Harrison said.

Resident Cathy Felch is surprised to hear about what's going on.

"I don't understand it. It's a bizarre thing. I would think they would be really heavy to get into their car," Felch said.

The sheriff's office says the steel grates can weigh up to 400 pounds, and each one costs taxpayers hundreds of dollars to replace.

"That makes me feel terrible because we just got that whole drain system fixed down there not too long ago, so if they're stealing them that means they have to come back and tear our whole street back up to fix it all over again," Harrison said. 
 
Sheriff Berrong is asking for the public's help in keeping an eye out for suspicious activity in their neighborhoods.

Anyone who has any information about the thefts of storm drain grates, or anyone who witnesses someone attempting to remove a storm drain grate is encouraged to call the Blount County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division during normal business hours at (865) 273-5001.

You can also leave a tip on the Sheriff's Office 24 hour anonymous Crime Prevention Hotline at (865) 273-5200 or through our Text-a-Tip link on the sheriff's office website.


 
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