06/07/2012 06:12 EDT | Updated 08/07/2012 05:12 EDT

Storm drain grates stolen off Vancouver streets

Someone is stealing the cast iron grates that cover the storm drains on the streets of Vancouver, city officials say.

Over the last four days, 47 of the heavy grates have been stolen, mostly from laneways south of 41st Avenue, but right across the east and west sides of the city.

The grates have a replacement value of $176 each, or about $8272 for all 47, but they have limited value if sold as scrap metal, say officials.

The city's manager of sewer operations Murray Steer says the missing grates pose a threat to anyone who may not notice they are missing.

Steer says in the past, the grates have gone missing around high school graduation events, but the recent rash of incidents is unusually widespread.

He says if anyone notices a missing grate they should call the city at 311, but if they see anyone actually stealing the grates they should call police at 911.

About 150 storm drain covers were stolen off the streets of Ottawa in 2008.