CHICAGO (CBS) — Police believe they’ve solved the case of stolen manhole covers and sewer grates in Joliet and nearby communities.

It was a Joliet streets worker who broke the case, police said. He got a partial license plate number from a van at the scene of one theft. A van matching the description was then seen at a scrap yard.

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It was enough information to prompt police to secretly fit the van with a tracking device.

Officers started to follow the van and saw the suspects steal about 16 grates in 15 minutes. The van’s three occupants were arrested and led police to a scrap yard, where 200 manhole covers and sewer grates were discovered, according to the Joliet Herald News.

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Police arrested David A. McClelland, 27, of Joliet, Robert L. Myers, 31, of Homer Glen, and Bradley Lewis, 30, who was listed as homeless, according to the Herald.

The owner of scrap yard said one of the suspects told him he got the covers from his brother, who ran a construction business. The scrap yard owner said he was waiting for proof before they would be scrapped.

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