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Illinois Bridge Goes AWOL

Friday, April 18, 2014

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He doesn't know where, when, why, how or by whom, but Greene County Sheriff Rob McMillen is sure of one thing.

Someone has made off with one of his bridges.

The 20-foot-long, 10-foot-wide iron and wood bridge disappeared sometime in March from Kane Township, IL, a town of fewer than 1,000 residents about 60 miles north of St. Louis, MO.

Bridge Out
Don O'Brien / Flickr (photo cropped for reuse)

Kane Township (not pictured) is looking for its bridge.

Authorities believe the bridge was removed intact from its location about three weeks ago. The government-owned bridge is used only infrequently by farmers to gain access to their properties, reports said.

A Break

Now, McMillen thinks he has a break in the case. Last week, he happened to notice a large pile of iron lying in a yard about eight miles from the bridge's former location, the Jacksonville (IL) Journal-Courier reported.

McMillen said the iron pieces were "heavy duty" and looked as if they were from a bridge, but he has not yet been able to confirm their source, the newspaper said.

The property owner where the pieces were found "is cooperating with authorities" and denies that the iron is from the missing bridge, the paper reported.

But Why?

Officials do not yet have a motive for the theft, but scrap metal of all kinds has been fetching some hefty prices in recent years. And Kane's thief or thieves are not the first to try to cash in on a hot bridge.

In October 2011, two brothers from western Pennsylvania dismantled a 40-ton steel bridge over several days and proceeded to sell it piece by piece for scrap.

By the time authorities caught up with Benjamin Arthur Jones, 24, and Alexander William Jones, 25, they had peddled about 31,000 pounds of the steel for just under $5,200.

The brothers were charged with multiple felonies, and the town was left holding a $100,000 bill for replacement.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Cast iron; Laws and litigation; Steel; Wood

Comment from Billy Russell, (4/18/2014, 1:13 PM)

Meth, is everywhere. look in local scrap yards...

Comment from Michael Deaton, (4/19/2014, 8:57 AM)

Billy is right. When drug abusers run out of money, they will do just about anything to get money to fund their high. As sad as it might seem, I would rather see these guys steal a bridge than kill some older couple for money.

Comment from Karen Fischer, (4/21/2014, 9:23 AM)

This sort of thing happens all over the country. Ripping copper plumbing and electrical wire from homes is another. Amazing that scrap yards never question the material that comes in.

Comment from Jim Johnson, (4/21/2014, 4:31 PM)

10X20...Hmmm...that would make a really heavy duty 8x20 trailer! Or perhaps a bridge at some location on private property. There are plenty of back woods locations in southern Illinois such a bridge could go to and not be found for years. There are over 100 old closed down coal mines alone in that area, all behind enclosure fences. If it was removed as a unit someone had to see it being moved, but those are also very closed mouthed folks there. They are good people, just not prone to talking much.

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