The Beirut Criminal Court has sentenced 2 individuals to 2 years of prison for stealing manhole covers.
Defendants Mohammad Jassem and Khalaf Jarjees (a minor) had been arrested in Karantina by Beirut police while they were in a Tuk-Tuk (auto rickshaw), according to the National News Agency.
At the time of their arrest, they were carrying 4 manhole covers.
During their interrogation, they confessed that they had, together, stolen several of these metal covers and sold them at a scrapyard in the Sabra neighborhood.
They explained that they had stolen manhole covers across different areas in Achrafieh, Basta, and Karantina, selling them to an unidentified individual known as “Qardouhi,” who lives in Sabra and owns the Tuk-Tuk they used for the thefts.
The Court convicted Mohammad Jassem of a felony (Article 638 of the Penal Code) and initially sentenced him to 3 years of prison before reducing the sentence to 2 years, taking into account the period of his pre-trial detention and his formal arrest.
The Court also decided to convict Khalaf Jarjees of the same felony and referred him to the Beirut Criminal Court for being a minor.
Since the start of the economic crisis in Lebanon, manhole-cover thefts have grown more frequent. A local initiative was recently launched to counter this phenomenon by replacing stolen metal covers with plastic ones.