By Eric Stevick Herald Writer
EVERETT — A Woodinville man could pay a heavy price for dealing in stolen manhole covers.
On Monday, Shaun Stevens, 32, pleaded guilty in Snohomish County Superior Court to five counts of first-degree trafficking in stolen property for selling stolen storm drain and manhole covers for scrap metal to recycling centers in 2011. He could get eight years, or longer, at sentencing next month.
Storm grates come in different forms but generally are made of iron and weigh around 100 pounds each.
When peddling the metal, Stevens claimed that he worked for a paving company that was replacing grates.
The city of Bothell documented the theft of at least 50 grates and manhole covers. The defendant also admitted taking covers from Woodinville and southeast Everett, according to court papers.
The string of thefts left street crews scrambling to replace the missing grates before anyone could get hurt.
Police recovered 67 grates from an Everett recycling center.
Stevens blamed his thefts on drugs, saying he stole to support his habit, according to court papers.
Stevens also pleaded guilty Monday to two other counts of trafficking in stolen property for selling catalytic converters stolen from cars for scrap metal. Prosecutors allege he sold at least 59 of them to a Lynnwood recycling center in 2011.
He entered two more guilty pleas: one for identity theft; one for dealing Oxycontin, a prescription painkiller.
The defendant’s previous criminal history includes convictions for vehicular assault and drug possession. His standard sentencing range for stealing the grates and manhole covers is five to eight years in prison. The drug dealing conviction could net five to 10 years behind bars.
Sentencing is set for Aug. 23.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, firstname.lastname@example.org.