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Watch Your Step! Manhole Covers Disappearing in Dothan

By: Vanessa Araiza Email
By: Vanessa Araiza Email

The beginning July kicked off a series of thefts in the area.

Dozens of manhole covers, water meter covers and drainage crates are being stolen and costing business owners and the city hundreds of dollars.

Samuel Emfinger sees hundreds of different metals come through his scrap yard daily one in particular is a rarity.

“He came in about every other day and looking back on tickets he had a few here a few there and trying to slip them in with different types of steel,” said Emfinger.

Dothan police say 33 year old Jason Woltz stole manhole covers, water meter covers and drainage crates from around the city of Dothan.

Some of the unmarked items were found at Emfinger’s scrap yard.

“Very casual, he was just everyday joe he would come in just getting rid of some scrap, just like everyone else trying to get a little money on the side, just like everyone else that has come in, nothing suspicious about his character,” said Emfinger.

Dothan Police Department Sergeant Rachel David says stolen metal can easily be overlooked by companies.

“Often times you have to remember, when scrap comes in it's large trailers that are piled high, so items that you may think would stick out this if they're covered by other piles and piles of metals they may not be as easily noticed,” said Sgt. David.

A piece of metal can go for 8 to 12 cents per pound.

A man hole cover weighs about 40 to 50 pounds.

A water meter cover weighs about 10 pounds and the drainage crates can weigh close to 60.

Alone not much of a profit; combined, a quick buck for a thief.

Emfinger says, “it was about 500 dollars worth all in all. It was several hundred pounds of manhole covers and water meter covers mainly.

A total of 35 covers have been stolen from the area.

Emfinger says Woltz was taking the covers from the sides of the road and in residential areas not in major locations.

It costs the city about 100 dollars to replace them.

Luckily a third of them have been recovered.

Woltz is from Mary Esther, Florida and is believed to be back in that area.

If you have information on his whereabouts you're asked to call the Dothan Police Department or Crimestoppers.


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