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Three men charged with thefts of 16 Quincy manhole covers

Robert Fowler
Posted at 11:36 AM, Feb 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-22 08:31:13-05

QUINCY, Fla. --The City of Quincy arrested three men on Thursday for the theft of 16 manhole covers. Manhole covers are heavy metal plates used to cover the entrances to sewer and utility underground tunnels.

Police were able to capture the suspects after receiving an anonymous tip that three men were driving around in a light-colored sedan with writing on the back window, and they'd been stealing manhole covers. Officers immediately began to BOLO (be on the lookout) for the suspects.

Shortly after, officers were able to find the vehicle at the owner's home. The owner told police that her son was driving the car. Officers were able to talk to the suspect, 20-year-old Robert Fowler, Jr.

Fowler was arrested after police said he admitted he was involved in the thefts. Fowler’s mother told officers that the two alleged accomplices were in the house. Officers say they found 26-year-old David Fancher hiding under a bed and 26-year-old Anthony Cannon hiding in the house’s attic.

The tip came in at 11 a.m. Thursday morning. The three suspects were booked into the Gadsden County Jail just hours later, around 4 p.m.  All three men are charged with Grand Theft and taken to the Gadsden County Jail. Cannon also had three open arrest warrants for burglary/criminal mischief and violation of probation.

Manhole covers cost the City of Quincy approximately $100 to replace. The suspects had sold the manhole covers to a local Quincy metal scrapyard for $10.

Officers say what is even more important than the financial loss is the threat of injury to citizens who risk falling into open manholes and being critically injured or killed.

Over the past several years officials say thieves have stolen an estimated 35 manholes in Quincy.