30 Metal Storm Grates Reported Missing

City to Pay $9000.00 in Replacement Cost

Chattanooga, Tennessee – Three men were arrested this past Friday (May 30, 2008), for trying to sell a City of Chattanooga metal storm grate to a local scrap metal dealer.  Recently, thirty storm grates (or catch basin grates) have been reported as missing.  The grates are used to capture storm water runoff from streets throughout the city, “This is a very dangerous situation that could result in serious injury,” said Jim Templeton, Director of Citywide Services for the City of Chattanooga.  “Someone riding a bike or just walking on the side of any street could easily fall into an exposed opening.”  The replacement value for each storm grate is $300.00.  It is estimated that the scrap metal value per grate is $6.00 – $14.00.  Each grate weights approximately 150 lbs.

Arrested and charged with theft under $500.00 (only 1 storm grate was confiscated) were William F. Gifford, 47, Ringgold, Georgia, Paul Andra Gifford, 59, Chattanooga, and Donald Lindon Thomas, 52, Chattanooga.

The Tennessee General Assembly recently passed metal theft legislation that imposes stricter requirements on those buying and selling metal.  High metal prices have resulted in an increase in metal theft.  The new regulations include requiring a state issued identification card and a thumb print before selling any metals and making it a Class A misdemeanor to sell or buy scrap metal marked with the name of a governmental entity.  The new law goes into effect on October 1, 2008.  The city is in the process of replacing all missing grates.  If you know the location of a missing grate, please report it by calling 311.  If you are aware of any details relating to the theft of any city property, please call the Chattanooga Police Department at 698-2525.