As Lebanon sways between a national health crisis and the dramatic devaluation of its local currency, a surprising surge in the theft of manhole covers has been reported by Beirut‘s Governor Marwan Abboud.
Abboud explained to AFP that since the manholes are made out of cast iron, which has become much more expensive with the decrease in the local currency’s value, a mob of gang members has been stealing them in order to make a sly profit.
The piece, weighing 70kg and up, is estimated to have a cash value of $100 in fresh dollars.
The manhole covers that have been going missing in the streets of Lebanon cannot be replaced for now as they are largely unaffordable, according to officials.
Abboud noted that thefts started to increase after the Beirut port explosion which plunged further the already-collapsing economy. In fact, hundreds of thefts were recorded in Beirut right after the blast, targeting the devasted homes or what was left of them.
As a result of these new trending thefts of manhole covers, damages and accidents to people and cars have been reported, in particular at night, with residents and car drivers unable to see these open holes in the streets of Beirut.
Beirut municipality is reportedly on the watch with the help of assigned groups taking shifts in monitoring the streets to catch the thieves red-handed.