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. leeintulsa

    I assume since it's a bridge, and no trains are in the water, it's not used. Maybe the railroad should clean up its mess when it's done with it

    October 7, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cecee

    This is too funny! I know who did it.

    October 7, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Calliope

    Thebes, that is sadly, hilariously true!!

    October 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • smartamerican

      Beavers with a high iron defiency did this. There is even reports of beavers eating railroad tracks also.

      October 7, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    Knock it off, Truth.

    smartamerican, this made me laugh so hard I almost choked! Thanks!

    October 7, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Homeless Troll

    Hey, I want my damned bridge back!

    October 7, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Homeless Troll

    Hey bring me back my damn bridge!

    October 7, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Andre Ouellet

    It's already on it's way to China, but it will be back – as a prefab bridge, made in China, replacing the one that was stolen. The town should open Chinese restaurants to feed the Chinese work crew that will be brought in to do the installation.

    October 7, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mad Ole Lady

    Men of Steel.

    October 7, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chuck Gardner

    I am confused. What is the difference between hundreds of pounds, and 'Hundreds and Hundreds of pounds' ?

    October 8, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
    • MrNobody

      The latter is used for emphasis. Yeah, go ahead. Act like you've never talked like that for emphasis.

      October 8, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. G sus

    Six more months

    October 8, 2011 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  11. Boris

    Just a bunch of uneducated rednecks.

    October 8, 2011 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  12. JoAnn Bartholomew

    What,are we to do?Hire,police to watch the bridges.I,don't think so. JoAnn Bartholomew

    October 8, 2011 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. Amused

    I know it's totally wrong, but I for one always kind of root for these kinds of guys. As long as the crime doesn't actually hurt people, I have a kind of bemused respect for people that are this inventive and clever. I mean, at the very least, you've got to give them points for originality. Anyone can shoplift from WalMart or steal a purse or write a phony check. But making off undetected with an entire bridge? Frickin' genius.

    This is definitely my favourite crime of the year.

    October 8, 2011 at 4:13 am | Report abuse |
    • MrNobody

      I'll bet it wouldn't be amusing if it was your property they stole, no matter how creatively they did it.

      October 8, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. HaYtEr

    Those were Canadian beavers...first stage of our invasion! lmao 🙂

    October 8, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  15. rickbreezy

    I agree with the possibility of this being a corporate insurence scam/inside job. I have worked for many years in the structural steel industry, and have seen lots of metal scroungers along the way. These are ussually poor men(and women) trying to make an extra 10, 20, or 50 bucks for their family. Scrap steel is no gold mine.

    Around here, scrap steel goes for about 10 cents a pound. The average structural bridge member(for a bridge of that size) might weigh between 30-60 pounds per foot.

    At 10 cents a pound, A very rough estimate of the poundage of scrap metal might be.....40,000 pounds(thats 50 feet per beam, every other foot, at an average 40 pounds per foot, plus extra for decking, joists, studs, weld metel, ect.) 40,000 pounds times 10 cents= 4000 dollers.

    Not a whole lot considering that: 40,000 pounds is alot to haul in a poor mans pickup truck, oxy-acetylene is VERY expensive( which means that 4000 dollers would be hardly anything after tool and material costs).

    But wait a second...... has anyoneone ever seen a bridge dismatled? I doubt 5 or 10 men poor enough to steal scrap metal for 10 cents a pound had cranes, slings, ropes, torches and a fleet of pickup trucks ready for all that to be dismatled and taken away in just 8 days.

    But I wish that they did, a gang of robin hoods would be a welcome sight these days.....


    October 8, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
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