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VAIL, Colo. (AP) _ For as little as $65, you can take home a piece of chic Vail. In a novel merchandising effort, town officials are hawking Vail manhole covers adorned with a ``V'' logo and the words ``Elev. 8150'' and ``Founded 1962.''

``We can rest assured that no one else is selling these, so we're not stepping on anyone's toes,'' said town spokeswoman Suzanne Silverthorn. ``I guess they'd look good in someone's dorm room.''

The 2-foot diameter, 75-pound, cast-iron covers sell for $295 apiece, while smaller, 8-inch utility covers cost $65. They are available in black or nickel finish.

The brainchild of Town Manager Bob McLaurin, the sale of the manhole covers comes after a series of thefts of those in use.

``We didn't have a problem with people stealing them until we started using customized ones about a year ago,'' said police Commander Joe Russell. ``At that point, they seemed to become collector's items.''

In the past year, two of the full-size covers and eight of the smaller versions were swiped before public-works crews began gluing them down with a sealant, said Larry Pardee, the town's streets and maintenance manager.

``I guess they've become college souvenirs,'' he said last week.

Vail code-enforcement officer Bill Bresnahan wondered why anyone would want an industrial piece such as the one in the pavement in front of his station.

``What would you do _ use them as a paperweight?'' he asked.