WEST CHICAGO, Ill. (CBS) — Someone is stealing sewer grates in West Chicago neighborhoods and that’s bad news for cars, bikes and those on foot.

It’s not a matter of if someone’s going to get hurt, it’s when. Those words from Streets Supervisor Pat Colfor. The grates drop down four-to-eight feet.

“I don’t know if it’s because of the economy or what but a lot people are out scrapping at night going through people’s garbage that is out at the curb just to find any type of a metal, which I imagine can be a pretty tough competition,”

There was a rash of thefts last year in West Chicago too. Colfor says scrap yards aren’t supposed to take them, but if they’re buried deep in a load and can’t be seen, then they often slip through.

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