The operator of a Chicago scrap metal company is charged with buying sewer covers and sidewalk grates pried from city streets by thieves.
After his arrest Saturday morning at Industrial Metal Enterprise in West Humboldt Park, Eric Kowalczyk, 55, told investigators he knew the men who sold him the metal had stolen city property and he should not have bought the items, according to a police report.
On Sunday, Cook County Judge James Brown ordered Kowalczyk held on $50,000 bond on a charge of stealing property worth between $500 and $10,000.
Kowalczyk of Bartlett was arrested after police tailed two suspected thieves to the business at 901 N. Kilpatrick Ave. on Thursday, authorities said. Officers found piles of grates and sewer covers at the business, according to the police report.
The alleged metal thieves – Sebastian Sierra, 40, of Harwood Heights and Kenneth Thrane, 38, of Chicago – were arrested and charged with theft, said police News Affairs Officer Veejay Zala. The men were seen taking grates from around a tree in the 5000 block of West Pensacola Avenue, Zala said.
The theft of sewer covers and grates has been a consistent problem in Chicago. One alderman said the grates cost about $1,300 to replace and sewer covers run $900.Copyright © 2015, RedEye