SEA Park drain cover thief caught

The suspect (right) who was caught red handed stealing drain covers. On the left is Section 21 SEA Park Rukun Tetangga chairman Gan Keng.

The thief who has been causing fears by stealing metal drain covers in Section 21 SEA Park and Section 20 Taman Paramount neighbourhoods in Petaling Jaya has been caught thanks to barking dogs and an alert resident at Jalan 21/26 on the morning of Wednesday September 26, 2012.

Police has arrested the suspect, an over 50-something bald-headed man who put his loot in the tricycle he was riding.

When his dog and the neighbours’ dogs were barking at about 5 something in the morning, an alert resident went out to check and saw a bald headed man lifted up the drain cover right in front of his house. But the man just ignored the resident and put the metal cover in his goods-carrying tricycle he was riding and fled.

Police arrests the suspect (right) for stealing drain covers.
The drain cover theft suspect covering his face to avoid the camera.
The tricycle the suspect used to carry his loot.
A search found three drain covers in the tricycle used by the suspect.

Fearing that the man might get aggressive, the resident quietly tailed him to the next street where he stopped a passing police patrol car with two armed policemen inside.

According to the resident, he saw three drain covers on the tricycle. Two were promptly put back where it was taken and the remaining one together with the suspect were taken by the police to the station.

Section 21 SEA Park Rukun Tetangga chairman Gan Keng arrived at the scene shortly when told of the arrest of the thief.

“The police has been making their rounds to catch the drain cover thief and we have formed vigilant group making our rounds in the early hours of the morning hoping to catch the thief red-handed. We have also advised the residents to inform the police immediately if they see anyone stealing the drain covers,” said Gan Keng who was happy the thief has been caught.

It is believed that more than 50 drain covers measuring about 55cm x 68cm were stolen in the last few months by thieves and sold for scrap for as much as RM3 a piece.

There was safety concern as children and old people may unknowingly fall into the gaping hole and seriously injure themselves.

Kampung Tunku state assemblyman Lau Weng San said he was glad and pleased that the culprit has been caught at last.

He had last August called a press conference to highlight the seriousness of the drain cover theft to the police for quick action and to the residents to watch their drain covers outside their homes.

“I thank the police for their hard work and effort and the residents for playing their roles to help the police in preventing more theft.

“I hope the person will be prosecuted in court and will not be released. For this, proper investigation must be conducted to ensure that the prosecutor has a strong case against the culprit,” he added.

On the replacement of the missing drain covers, Weng San said he has already liaised with MBPJ engineering department director Tuan Ir Haji Cheremi Tarman and was told that the manhole cover might not be under MBPJ’s jurisdiction.

“I have requested them to check with Legal Department,” said Weng San who will check with the authority again.

“Some residents have already replaced the missing manhole covers with concrete covers. I urge residents to be more vigilant to prevent similar theft. The authority ought to amend laws to prevent people from selling and buying stolen government property.”