Everyone knows that thieves will take just about everything that isn’t fastened down. But some thieves went beyond last November 2021.
The police in Akron, Ohio, are perplexed over a strange theft. One or more enterprising thieves have made off with a bridge.
Yes, an entire bridge.
As everyone protects their valuables to prevent them from being stolen, now, it looks like it might be time to start protecting bridges as well.
The walkway in question is the 58-foot pedestrian bridge that usually spans the Little Cuyahoga River in Akron’s Middlebury Run Park. The bridge had been momentarily taken down as part of a wetland restoration operation.
The bridge was put in a nearby field to wait until the restoration work was finished. Nobody was keeping an eye on it, but then again, would you really expect someone to snatch a bridge?
The cops sure didn’t. But on November 11, 2021, they received a phone call informing them that the bridge was no longer there. Understandably, the cops are completely baffled that somebody would steal an entire bridge.
Police who are currently investigating this case said they “have not heard of anything that large stolen” before. “I have not heard of anything that large — albeit it disassembled but actually stolen, I can’t think of anything comparable in my 22 years [on the job],” Police Lieutenant Michael Miller said.
“We know it will be met with mystery and questions: who and how and why? All of those are unanswered. It ranks high on the list of mysteries, that’s for sure,” he added.
It’s a little odd that no one observed anything odd happening to the bridge. The robbers didn’t exactly take the building in one fell swoop, according to the authorities.
The bridge is 58 feet long, 10 feet wide & 6 feet high and was taken apart and stolen piece by piece.
There are traces left by one or more of the trucks that the thieves used to move the bridge in the field. They also returned numerous times to take down the bridge.
The robbers allegedly cut down the nearby shrubs on November 3, the police said. Then they removed all of the deck boards before returning to retrieve the remaining parts of the structure.
Miller said that the robbers could have certainly broken the bridge apart very easily. He compared its structure to a set of large Lego blocks that were bolted together.
“Essentially the bridge is made of some sort of polymer. It’s connected by some bolts. If you have any equipment, sockets, and things of that nature, it wouldn’t have been very difficult at all to begin the process of disassembling that. It’s described as a big Lego-like device.”
At least the police are aware of how the robbers stole the bridge. The bigger query is, though, why they did it?
To be fair, it’s not like the bridge is exactly cheap. The total value of the structure is somewhere around $40,000.
“It could be used for a variety of different things as simple as landscaping or they could use it for some other engineering project, some other large-scale project,” Miller mused.
However, Miller thinks that the thieves would be more likely to try and sell the bridge’s parts as scrap to a recycler. There is only one issue with that strategy: the components are essentially useless as junk.
The polymer material is difficult to recycle or repurpose. The amount of money the burglars would make from it would therefore be little at best.
Miller says, “Someone that might mistakenly think there is a particular scrapping value of that particular material. Maybe they are mistaken and now they’re stuck with, ‘well, what do we do with it? It went beyond impulsive.”
Still, a crime is a crime and the cops want to catch the bridge burglars. As the bridge does have some recyclable value to it so they are looking for people or witnesses who may have any information about it.
“Someone in the viewing area has access to some information that we need and this is the ‘whodunit’ where we really need the community’s help to point us in the right direction to find the people responsible for removing that bridge,” Miller said.