More than 160 manhole covers were stolen overnight in Poinciana. The 167 manhole covers are missing from an area referred to as Village 8, Toho Water Authority officials say.
Once upon a time, Village 8 was destined to be a huge subdivision, densely packed with houses. But that never happened. The community, which sits on the Polk County side of Poinciana, is mostly deserted, except for the weekends.
"A lot of action," said Felix Ramos. "You hear the ATVs, people going out driving around."
Other than that, it's the perfect out-of-the way location to steal without being seen.
The manholes are for sewer lines. They're not in the middle of the roads or sidewalks but are on adjacent lots and covered by thick brush. So, the water authority is going around and marking every single one of them with stakes and bright orange tape, to make sure nobody accidentally falls into one.
The stolen covers are 80 pounds of solid iron. It's possible someone is trying to sell them, but they are not the kind of thing most scrap yards would take without any inquiries as to where they came from, according to authorities.
The whole thing has left law enforcement and residents puzzled. "Can't even think of why someone would take manhole covers and don't even know what they could be used for," said Ramos, "other than covering a hole in the ground!"
The Toho Water Authority confirms that this is not the first time manhole covers have been stolen. About a month ago, 40 of them were taken by thieves, also in Poinciana.