Latest theft target: Sewage pump grinder stations

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Thieves are known for stealing just about anything. You can now add stainless steel bolts to the list. While that may seem relatively harmless, there is potential danger arising from those thefts.

Myra Broussard is a victim of the crime. She's also a customer of the West Jackson County Utility Authority. Thieves stole the stainless steel bolts that hold down the lid on the grinder pump station outside her home. Other neighbors have been targeted as well.

"There's a rash of this going on," Broussard explained.  "And what it's that people are stealing the bolts off of the lids and selling them for scrap metal."

There's a reason for that. Stainless steel bolts are much more valuable than regular bolts.  But Myra is more concerned about something else.

"The greatest fear would be for someone to actually fall into there. Small children especially. This street in particular has at least 30 kids on this one street. They're all around the house playing," Broussard said.

Officials at the utility authority have been made aware of the problem. John Hannah is the general manager.

"We have stainless steel bolts on all our grinder stations. We have bolts in manhole covers and that type of thing, so it's something we're constantly aware of and looking for," Hannah said.

Although the theft of these stainless steel bolts has not become a major problem at this point, the potential is there. Hannah says there are a whole lot of bolts out there to be stolen.

"Well, we've got a little over 3000 grinder stations, so these would be in 3000 residences throughout the community. A lot of bolts, a lot of potential and difficult to keep up with."

Difficult or not, it's a mission that's now taking on more of a sense of urgency.

Officials with the utility district are suggesting that customers check their systems a few times a week to make sure all the bolts and other parts are still there.  If not, contact the utility district so repairs can be scheduled.

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