Facebook Twitter

ARRESTS MAY LET L.A. POLICE SLAM A LID ON MANHOLE CASE

SHARE ARRESTS MAY LET L.A. POLICE SLAM A LID ON MANHOLE CASE

Police figured out the motive in the case of the missing manhole covers, and Thursday they arrested two suspects.

Some of the more than 185 purloined covers turned up at a scrap-metals yard Tuesday, and police arrested two men who showed up at the same yard with another truckload.Detective Bob Readheimer said the men and their truck matched the description of suspects spotted earlier lifting a manhole cover in Santa Monica. "They drove to the right place at the right time," he said.

Some of the cast-iron covers ranging in weight from 50 pounds to 200 pounds were buried in truckloads of higher grade iron sold to the Downtown Metal Center to fetch a higher price, said center manager Robert Kelman.

"The manhole covers are pretty flat so they can hide them well."

Kelman said Tuesday. "Basically, they just used them to weigh down the load."

The discovery of Los Angeles City manhole covers in piles of old pipes, truck bodies and reinforcement bars solved the biggest mystery in the disappearance of some 30 manhole covers a day since early last week - what use were the things?

Since the covers by themselves were only worth $1.50 each at scrap yards, police and city officials could not figure out why anyone would bother trying to steal the heavy, unwieldy covers.

The thief was dubbed "Manhole Man," but police didn't know whether a single person or a gang of thieves was responsible.

Most of the covers reported stolen were 2-foot diameter cast-iron covers placed over sidewalk storm drains, but the metals center received even larger, middle-of-the-road covers. Officials were worried a pedestrian could fall into the 2-foot holes, but so far no injuries have been reported.