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. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    Sad. Now a troll is homeless.

    October 7, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cateyes7

      That was great. Loved it!

      October 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wes

      Have to agree with Cateyes, that was a good one. Thanks. 🙂

      October 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. michaelfury

    Nothing compared to the "theft" of WTC steel.


    October 7, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • SFC Mike

      Here's your tinfoil hat. Zzzzzzzzzz....

      October 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • BobbyBrick


      October 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Somalia Free Press

    headline: "American terrorists strike in Pittsburgh" An organized cell armed with blowtorches dismantled an entire bridge. American inteligence was unable to determine exactly when the event occured, but have narrowed it down to a 5 day window. As terrorism sweeps accross the USA, we Solalian citizens have our own pirates to deal with, along with finding out a way to stop all of our oil from being leached. 🙂 hagd

    October 7, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • michelle


      October 7, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. j r

    As far as I can determine, bridge doesn't contain one piece of corrugated steel! Check your facts! Of course, it might be difficult at this late date!

    October 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • BobbyBrick

      Not the structural supports which I assume are the I-beams they talk about, but the crossing itself could easily have been of corrugated steel.

      October 7, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arnold.nb

      Corrugated Steel is often used as decking to span and support a surface material.

      October 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • michelle

      A little egg in your face?

      October 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dr. Judy Wood Phd. applied sciences

    The WTC steele wasn't stolen, it was 'dustified'. Check out Dr. Judy Wood online and on Youtube video. hagd 🙂

    October 7, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Food for thought

    Dwarf tossing should not only be legal. It should be manditory.

    October 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • How about idiot tossing?

      Can we make you one of the first for that?

      October 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Fiona

    Marvelous irony there. Public access is cut off in order to save it from metal thieves, but because no one is using it the metal thieves can work uninterrupted. Perfect.

    October 7, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom in Santa Fe

      "Marvelous irony there" – how "punny" of you...

      October 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mnhcv

    hmm, great idea, get rid of crumbling bridge, get money, force local governmenst to built new bridge.

    October 7, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. PACO128

    surely they would be able to track these guys down

    October 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John R

    Looks like we'll have to set-up a steel trafficking task force.

    October 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • michelle

      Would not surprise me at all

      October 7, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. SkyKing

    It was an unused bridge, a century old. The approaches were weed clogged such that one could hardly find it or reach it. So some enterprising people dismantled what reasonably appeared to be an abandoned bridge and got whatever value they could for old, weak, low carbon, scrap steel. They may not have received enough money to have made their effort worth their while!

    October 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • HandfulOfPeter

      I think I have found one of the thieves!!! Really, how much did you... I mean... the 'enterprising people' get for it?

      October 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John R

    Stealing steel.

    October 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mikeonthebay

    They were just getting their "fair share".... they had great need........ This is the product of liberalism, people have been told that no body wons anything, if you can use the guv ment to steal it for you it ok fine.

    October 7, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • HandfulOfPeter

      You sir, are way far gone. Product of liberalism? Why don't you look up the word liberalism. George Bush used the term quite frequently. It what our country is founded on. Idiot.

      October 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. OhMy

    They should hire these guys as consultants. They did in a few days what takes union workers 4 weeks to do.

    October 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jannynet

      HaHaHa! Good one.

      October 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Me

    How hard would it be to contact the recycling centers and ask who brought in $100,000 worth of steel? Duh!

    October 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Torch Jockey

      Structural steel is structural steel. This was done by pros, and they'll use it bit by bit to bulk out loads, not dump it all at once.

      October 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
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