Two Winthrop men have been apprehended by Revere and Winthrop Police and are believed to be responsible for the local epidemic of stolen manhole and storm drain covers.
Eric Monahan, 33, of 99 Winthrop St. in Winthrop; and Michael Feudo, 38, of 78 Atlantic St. in Winthrop, were both arrested in the early morning hours of last Thursday and initially charged with one count of larceny of property over $250.
The crime phenomena began about a month ago when hundreds of storm drains and manhole covers began disappearing in Revere, Winthrop, Lynn, Everett and many other communities. Police and the various local departments of public works began cooperating a looking at several possible suspects.
About two weeks ago, the investigation got really intense when it was revealed that nearly 90 pieces had been stolen in Revere alone, with a value of around $22,500.
Revere Police reached out to neighboring police departments and also to many local scrap yards. They also began looking at a list of likely suspects and watching their whereabouts.
In the end, it appears that strategy worked in this case.
“Officers were investigating this really vigorously and had some inkling of who might be involved,” said Revere Capt. Michael Murphy. “They developed more than one suspect that they had information on and were watching them. It proved to be fruitful.”
The fruit began early on Thursday when officers became aware of a suspicious vehicle that had been observed placing a sewer cover in the back of a pickup truck.
That same suspicious truck later surfaced in west Revere, and the occupants were observed stealing two additional sewer covers. That neighborhood, coincidentally, has been hard hit by the thieves in previous weeks.
Officers moved in quickly and arrested both men.
After an interview and as a result of the investigation, police believe the men are responsible for more than 80 thefts of street coverings. Those thefts have occurred in Revere, Saugus, Winthrop, Lynn, Malden and other communities.
Both men were arraigned in Chelsea District Court, and were freed on $150 bail. They were also called on to abide by a curfew that doesn’t allow them out of the house at night.
Police were a little put off by the light treatment in court considering the number and cost of the thefts, and also considering the huge amounts of resources that were put into the investigation.
Police said that not only did the crimes result in serious monetary loss for several municipalities, but also they could have resulted in significant injury had someone fallen into one of the open manholes or storm drains.