ABC News' Ashton Marra reports:
Investigators are trying to figure out who stole more than 500 parking meters from storage in Toms River, N.J., the township's police chief said.
The meters, valued at more than $75,000, were discovered missing by a parking authority employee Monday afternoon. The lock to the storage trailer had been cut and the meters removed, Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said.
"We're not sure at this time if it was a single incident or not," Mastronardy said. "It could have happened any time between September and Monday."
Each cast-iron meter weighed 50 pounds, totaling about 12.5 tons of material stolen.
Mastronardy said the meters were in storage until the town needed to recondition them for use.
"There's not a big need for them, but I'd say they would either be scrapped for money or sold to a vendor," Mastronardy said.
Bob Pellegrino, owner of Universal Recycling and Scrap Iron in Toms River, said local scrap yards might pay $11 per 100 pounds for items like the meters, but are constantly on the lookout for suspicious items coming in to their businesses.
"We wouldn't accept those unless they were brought in by a township in a township truck," Pellegrino said. "In these trying times, we're extra conscious of the things people are bringing in. If somebody brought those into a yard it would send out a red flag."
Mastronardy said they have no leads in the investigation so far, but are trying to get the word out for people, or even other towns, to keep their eyes open.
"Maybe other towns have had similar situations and haven't reported it," Mastronardy said. "Maybe they have hit other communities that haven't noticed, and they'll see it and find a connection and work with us."