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California Legislation Targets Manhole Cover Thieves

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, April 9, 2012

Republican Senator Bill Emmerson says a water district in his area asked him to write the legislation after a series of manhole cover thefts.  The bill would make it illegal for recyclers to accept manhole covers, fire hydrants and other water-related devices, without a written certification from the agency or utility that owned them.   He says it's both a financial - and a public safety problem.  For example, he says the fire hydrants were stolen from one elementary school in his district:

Emmerson:"Not always do agencies have replacements available in a timely manner, for instance, this one school had to virtually- was going to have to close down if they couldn't get the replacement fire hydrants for them."

Emmerson says a recycler who accepts a device without the paperwork faces a fine of three thousand dollars. He's writing a separate bill that would make junk dealers and recyclers liable in civil court for damages incurred by the agency from which the items were stolen.
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