October 7th, 2011
12:16 PM ET

Thieves dismantle, cart off steel bridge in Pennsylvania

Metal theft is not a new phenomenon in the U.S., nor is it a surprising one given the state of the economy. But a thief or group of thieves in North Beaver Township, Pennsylvania, has raised the bar by stealing a 50-foot-long by 20-foot-wide bridge for scrap metal, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

Authorities say the privately owned Covert's Crossing bridge, which was made of corrugated steel, has been valued at approximately $100,000 and was dismantled using a blowtorch sometime between September 27 and October 5. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that it contained a steel web decking along with steel I-beam supports.

“Its old I-beams are probably hundreds and hundreds of pounds per foot,” nearby resident Robert Obed told CNN affiliate WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh. “It’s an old railroad bridge.”

Covert's Crossing is in a remote wooded area of the rural township, which is home to 4,000 people about 50 miles north of Pittsburgh. The bridge had been around since the early 1900s and was owned by New Castle Development, who told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the company had recently closed off public access to the crossing because of reports of copper theft in the area. Company spokesman Gary Bruce said that bridge was primarily used by a nearby business to transport materials, but there is an alternative route that is still accessible.

Bridge theft, while certainly rare, is not unheard of. In 2008, a group of Russian thieves managed to dismantle and haul off a 200-ton, 38-foot steel bridge in just one night, according to a report from Britain's Daily Mail.

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Filed under: Crime • Pennsylvania
soundoff (220 Responses)
  1. hazen

    I for one am glad to see that good old American know how and initiative are alive and well. Obviously these guys aren't afraid to do hard work to make some money.

    October 8, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©


    Props for your dry sense of humor.

    October 8, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Portland Tony

    Out of work iron workers gotta eat too!

    October 9, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dr. Bombay

    "...And If you believe that, I got a bridge to sell you...Oh, No. Wait a minute..."

    October 9, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. htman

    Now I've heard it all!

    October 9, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rick

    Metal theft tends to be a white guy kind of crime. That bridge is worth at least a few hits of methamphetamine.

    October 9, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. moose

    seriously?! this sounds like an urban legend!

    October 10, 2011 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mike B

    Just when I thought I've heard it all Lol

    October 11, 2011 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  9. Steamr

    Not too surprised to hear about this, although the scale of it is astounding! A few towns north of where I live, scrap metal thieves stole a 900-pound hunk of railroad rail from an ACTIVE railroad spur in an industrial park! (They caused a locomotive to derail!). Fortunately, it was running slowly & just barely ran off the end of the cut rail; didn't upset, train crew was unharmed. If the perps are caught, it was said they might actually be prosecuted under Federal TERRORISM guidelines – could you image what could have happened had they stole rail from the 150-MPH Amtrak NE Corridor (only @ 10 miles away from where they stole the rail!).

    October 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Archie Bunker

    Bridge demolition is expensive for un used bridges.Why are these people complaining?They got the job done for free and someone paid their bills and put food on the table for their family.This is not a crime.

    October 11, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Josh

    Oh the Iron-ey!! ...

    October 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
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    February 14, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. walkerwilliam91

    I wonder how long it took them to dismantle it. I am surprised that they didn't just take the car.

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    January 20, 2014 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
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