How does one lose a bridge?
That’s the question on everyone’s mind after News 5 Cleveland reported that Akron, Ohio, police are looking for a 10-foot wide, 6-foot high, and 58-foot long bridge (not pictured above) that has disappeared from a public park.
The bridge, according to News 5, was originally removed in the early 2000s “as part of a creek and wetlands restoration project and had been stored in a nearby field.” The city apparently had plans to use the bridge for a different project, until they realized last month that someone had stolen the “treated deck boards.” A week later, the rest of the bridge had disappeared.
“I have not heard of anything that large — albeit it disassembled but actually stolen, I can’t think of anything comparable in my 22 years [at the Akron Police Department],” Lt. Michael Miller told News 5. “We know it will be met with mystery and questions:who [sic] and how and why? All of those are unanswered. It ranks high on the list of mysteries, that’s for sure.”
Police told the outlet that the bridge was estimated to be worth $40,000 to the city, but News 5 reported that “the polymer-based material that the bridge was made out of makes it largely worthless to a scrapper or recycler.”
“It may not have been as complicated as we first thought. Essentially the bridge is made of some sort of polymer. It’s connected by some bolts. If you have any equipment, sockets, and things of that nature, it wouldn’t have been very difficult at all to begin the process of disassembling that,” Miller told the outlet. “It’s described as a big Lego-like device.”
Police are asking the community if they have any leads that might catch the bridge thieves.
“Someone that might mistakenly think there is a particular scrapping value of that particular material. Maybe they are mistaken and now they’re stuck with, ‘well, what do we do with it?” Lt. Miller said. “It went beyond impulsive.”
Fox 8 reported that the bridge was once open to pedestrians “along the Little Cuyahoga River in Middlebury Run Park, which sits in the shadow of Goodyear World Headquarters on Akron’s East End.”
The outlet noted that tracks in the field near the park where the bridge was being kept indicated the thieves used one or more trucks to remove the bridge. Miller told Fox 8 that whoever stole it could be using it “or a variety of different things to include as simple as landscaping or they could use it for some other engineering project, some other large scale project.”
He added that the bridge would be pretty easy to take apart.
“The bridge is almost all polymer I’m told and really just connected by some bolts, so if you have any equipment, sockets or anything of that nature, it wouldn’t have been very difficult at all to start the process of disassembling that,” he told Fox 8.