Manhole cover swiper nabbed, cops say

Man at work: This man, shown here on surveillance footage, was arrested on May 9 for stealing 23 manhole covers between March and May.
Surveillance footage

Police arrested a man they said swiped manhole covers for a living — until he was nabbed for the string of thefts on May 9.

Investigators claim that the 46-year-old suspect, an admitted drug fiend, used the stolen cast iron manhole covers to feed his drug habit and is responsible for thefts throughout Bensonhurst, Flatlands, and Queens.

The thief is currently being linked to more than 20 manhole cover thefts stretching back to April 14, police said.

“We believe it’s the same guy,” said a spokesman for the 63 precinct, where one of the thefts took place.

“We haven’t heard they’re looking for anybody else, so, I think they got him,” the cop said.

Investigators say the alleged manhole thief was captured after being linked to his ride — a dark-green 2004 Ford F-150 pickup truck that bore both a Connecticut license plate and a New York registration sticker.

A traffic agent spotted the curiously marked automobile on April 14 — shortly after one of the manhole thefts — and approached the vehicle.

The suspect sped off, but not before the agent jotted down the vehicle’s registration number. Police ran the number through the NYPD database, learning that the vehicle had been stolen.

On April 27, a witness spotted a man wearing a neon vest use a crowbar to pry up a manhole cover, which cost about $200 to replace, on 85th Street between 15th and 16th avenues.

He then use a hydraulic floor jack to raise the cover, which can weigh as much as 320-pounds, into the same 2004 Ford F-150.

The suspect matched the description of a man wanted for taking a sewer cap on E. 46th Street near Avenue H in Flatlands, police said.

Witnesses said the thief was dressed as a Con Edison worker, and drove a dark green pickup truck.

Cops nabbed the suspect last Wednesday after an officer from the 62nd Precinct saw the stolen truck on 67th Street near 20th Avenue.

The cop learned that the suspect had bolted the Connecticut license plate over the original New York plate.

Two crowbars and a hydraulic floor jack was found inside the truck, investigators said.

Attempts to reach the suspects attorney were unsuccessful by late Monday.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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