The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

January 15, 2013

UPDATE: APD makes arrest in thefts of storm, sewer, water grates

ATHENS — An Athens Police officer’s efforts Tuesday led to the arrest of an Elkmont man in connection with the theft of several sewer, storm sewer and water grates in Athens.

Police believe the accused — Jiles Troy Andrews, 38, of 12105 Grigsby Ferry Road — was planning to sell them for scrap, Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson said.

He is charged with two counts of second-degree theft and one count of third-degree theft, with more charges possibly pending, the chief said.

Andrews remained in the Limestone County Jail Tuesday, where bail will be set.

Good police work solved the crime.

“Over the past couple days, investigators have been working the thefts of several sewer and storm (sewer) grate covers from city streets and the thefts of several water grates stolen from other locations over the past several weeks,” Johnson said.

The recent loss of 10 city grates had prompted Public Works Director James Rich to inform the City Council on Monday of the need to replace them at a cost of $5,000. He told council members he did not understand why anyone would steal a grate because they are worth only about $10 as scrap.

On Tuesday morning, Officer Mac McWhorter saw a vehicle linked to the thefts that officers had been looking for, Johnson said. The truck was loaded with sewer covers and storm grates that had been stolen form the city of Athens, the chief said. Investigators Jonathan Caldwell and Tim McIntire arrested Andrews and booked him at the Police Department before transferring him to the county jail.

“The investigation into these cases is continuing, and other arrests or charges are possible,” Johnson said.

Most of the missing grates have been accounted for, Johnson said.