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. tim

    I'd say a scrap dealer did it. You would need a semi with a dump trailer, a track hoe, a lot of oxy- accetaline. Who would have all that laying around?

    October 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Neeneko

      They would need someone crooked in the mix. Generally scrap dealers are supposed to track who brings them stuff, so without a shady dealer they would be caught in no time.

      October 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • holdem

      Don't forget it's near Pittsburgh aka Steel city. Many steel workers have the knowledge and tools to dismantle this bridge and even sell it covertly.

      October 7, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • brokenpinata

      There are plenty of crooked scrap yard owners, and plenty of meth heads to supply them. I don't live far from where this happened, and it doesn't surprise me one bit.

      October 7, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • EM

      Pittsburgh hasn't been a "Steel City" in decades. The Steel industry here collapsed in the late 70s/early 80s. There are few steel workers left in this town anymore.

      October 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Another American who is FED up!!

      Hey Tim i think your on to something...it has to be

      I'd say a scrap dealer did it. You would need a semi with a dump trailer, a track hoe, a lot of oxy- accetaline. Who would have all that laying around?

      October 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • tim

      Not to mention that scrap is $180 a ton. That bridge is worth well over $100k scrap.

      October 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. kptrojans

    Send these boys down here to Louisville, KY. They probably can get the Sherman Minton Bridge (I64) repaired, and get new new Ohio River Bridges built in half the time and and probably more cost effective than what the Kentucky and Indiana governments can come up with.

    October 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sybaris

    Palin took it to complete her bridge to nowhere

    October 7, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louis

      And it looks like you took it to your sense of humor to no where.

      October 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill in Florida

      Excellent! And let's not forget Palin's brain to nowhere.

      October 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. s3igell

    Materials Theft is rampant, and the theives are quite Bold.

    Copper Theft along the newy expanded Freeways of Phoenix include literally miles of solid copper high-power wiring for the interchange lighting systems. And as you drive along, whole 3-4 mile sections sit dark because theives have parked at an access tunnel and pulled away the miles of copper. This causes the County and State to have to pay contractors to replace and rewire it – at taxpayer expense.

    Think that is brazen... After several attempted thefts with electrocuted culprits – some mexican immigrants – La Raza launched a protest that the County needed to build electro-hazard protection into the replacements "Because their people were getting hurt..." while stealing the County's wire.


    October 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • brokenpinata

      Solution? Crank up the amps! When they get close enough to feel the static field, that should be warning enough.

      October 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • K Ols

      La Raza is a criminal organization as far as I'm concerned. They are always complaining we shouldn't pick on their illegal & sometimes theiving countrymen. Just open the flod gates and let them all take over our country.

      I am also darn sick of the media always running these sympathy stories to condition us to accept these people into our country as if they belong here. I have absolutely no sympathy for illegal immigrants and we all know how we can run them out. First off, we must start calling the employers who hire them unpatriotic and, of course, imprison the owners and fine them to kingdom come for hiring people who they well know are not Americans.

      October 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • patti

      so let's see..illegals are getting electrocuted doing illegal things while living in the united states illegally and other illegals want them to be safe while they are stealing our copper and selling it – an i'm a liberal...still i just don't understand my country anymore

      October 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |

    Blame it on the Pittsburg Stealers!

    October 7, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phil in Oregon

      snicker! Good one!

      October 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. hmmmm...

    New Castle Development recently closed off the area to the public because of copper thefts. So they show awareness of stealing metal and make sure no one is around. Probably ought to be on the list of suspects.

    October 7, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SuckIt

    Haha! That's awesome.

    October 7, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Americans did it

    Pretend like al-quida did the bridge and track down the perps. Shouldn't take any longer than ten years to round-up a few of them. Then we could just assasinate them to save a trial ordeal, or imprison them without due process. We shouldn't just let them get away that's for sure.

    October 7, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul Price

      You are comparing the theft of a metal bridge to the attacks of 9-11-2001? You are a disgrace, and
      should be banned from appearing in public.

      October 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. michelle


    October 7, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. TheBossSaid

    I'm still waiting for someone to steal a commerical airliner.

    October 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louis

      wow, that has happened many times. read.

      October 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul Price

      Where were you September 11, 2001? Under a rock?

      October 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Craigslist Ad

    For sale:

    One bridge kit. Contents will build 1 bridge, 50' by 20', tools not included

    Price, $100,000 or best offer. Cash only, no SPAM, will not deliver.

    October 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Scott

    Wrong as it may be, you have to admire the motavation and the sheer audacity it would take to pull off something like this.

    October 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louis

      It is impressive. Agreed. Although I would beat these people to death if I came across them.

      October 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. russ

    *&^%ing meth heads

    October 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chris

    As has already been said, were there jobs available for the type of skilled, specialized labor required to pull off this kind of job, it wouldn't have happened in the first place.

    Clearly its Obama's fault, right Republicans? Come on, revise a little more history! You aren't far off from trying to paint W's reign as the second coming of Kennedy's Camelot, why not just go the whole 9 and claim that we didn't lose 700,000 jobs/month, we *gained* them!

    October 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Another American who is FED up!!

    The Fed's need to throw the people buying in jail...make laws that everyone selling metal must go through a back ground check like we do weapons. Once we know names then it's not hard to see who keeps selling metal...duh!! better hurry before they tear down America literally!!

    October 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
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