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. Rafael

    See? Here we have hard-working individuals who instead of protesting Wall Street, took to the streets and, well, took the street.

    October 7, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Peaceful Guy

    I'm on board with that dwarf tossing idea.. That's what I can buy with all that bridge money!

    October 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Another American who is FED up!!

    Sounds like John might be one of them...so you shut up John!!!

    October 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Boater

    If you believe the economy is improving, I have this bridge....

    October 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. WD

    Well, they're resourceful. Gotta give em' that.

    October 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. StevensB

    Now about that " bridge to nowhere " ........

    October 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. boogietime

    Who would steal steel?

    October 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. lgbarn

    Alaska has "The Bridge to Nowhere" and Pennsylvania has "The Bridge to the Recycling Man"...LOL

    October 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JonPeter

    One way of dealing with significant thefts like this, for those who are caught, is to get judgments for damages that can't be discharged by bankrupcy (because the debt was incurred by commission of a crime.) Then hound these people for the rest of their lives, taking away anything they acquire, houses, boats, cars, trucks, etc.

    While the recovery rate might not be high it would be worth the effort for two reasons, you could employ people to track them down, and second, you could make examples of people who have miserable lives caused by a debt they can't satisfy (in most cases.) It may sound mean spirited, but some of these crooks need tobe taught a lesson.

    October 7, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      IMHO, bankruptcy should NEVER erase judgments. By allowing such, one is basically allowing a back-door appeal by court over a final decision by another court.

      October 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CaptCanuck

    The nuts and bolts of it is they had nerves of steel...

    October 7, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Just me

    reduce, recycle, reuse...

    October 7, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ryan

    if it took them a week to figure out it was gone they probably don't need it...

    October 7, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. CoffeeClue

    I'd say taht having the skills and the organization to pull something like this off should be able to get them real jobs. Think of the machinery involved... cranes, trucks etc.

    October 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Josh

    And the steel recycling places will just accept a no-name person just dropping off "his" old bridge, without question?

    October 7, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. vikk

    My friend worked at a place where a former employee (and buddies, im sure) broke in at night and stole a complete walk-in freezer compartment. Must have had a huge grudge..

    October 7, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
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