New metal benches are disappearing from bus stops in Washington and the D.C. Department of Transportation believes they're possibly being sold as scrap metal.
There are hundreds of revamped bus stops across the city with electronic signs, real-time bus information and benches. But up and down 14th Street and 16th Street in Upper Northwest, the benches have disappeared at bus shelter after bus shelter, News4 found.
Scrap metals sell for only 20 to 70 cents per pound, but DDOT officials say the benches may have been stolen for money. The problem is so bad the department is working with police.
"DDOT is aware of the vandalism taking place at bus shelters and we are working with [the Metropolitan Police Department] as well as local scrap yards to bring attention to this illegal activity," the department said in a statement. "Anyone caught stealing DDOT property or receiving stolen goods will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
DDOT is replacing missing benches and working to better secure all benches so they're harder to remove.
Bus passenger Joseph Lezama said many riders need the benches.
"There are a lot of elderly that has to catch the bus here and there's no place for them to sit," he said.