Turns out that unloading a hot 40-ton bridge isn’t as easy as it seems.
That was the lesson learned by two brothers arrested in the dismantling and theft of a 50-foot-long, 20-foot-wide steel bridge taken earlier this month from private property in Western Pennsylvania.
Benjamin Arthur Jones, 24, and Alexander William Jones, 25, of New Castle, PA, face felony charges of criminal mischief, theft, receiving stolen property and conspiracy in the heist, which took place sometime between Sept. 27 and Oct. 5.
|The bridge was dismantled over a week to sell the metal for scrap, police said.|
The brothers were being held in the Lawrence County Prison on $25,000 bail, awaiting a preliminary hearing in the case.
The bridge was used to access an industrial park on a tract belonging to New Castle Development Co., in a remote wooded area known as Covert’s Crossing near a rail line about 60 miles north of Pittsburgh.
State Police say the Joneses used a blowtorch to break up the bridge in order to sell the metal for scrap.
The structure was made of corrugated steel, a steel web decking, and steel I-beam supports.
31,000 Pounds of Scrap
According to the criminal complaint, the brothers sold 31,000 pounds of steel grate and I-beams and received $5,179 (about 16.5 cents per pound) cash for that part of the scrap. That is not the entire weight of the structure, New Castle Development spokesman Gary Bruce told the New Castle News.
Thefts of plumbing, wire, cable, fixtures and other metals have soared worldwide, including that area of Pennsylvania. One area resident said the bridge itself had been closed recently because of a rash of nearby copper thefts.
Initially, the bridge’s owner thought that the century-old structure had washed away in September’s record rains. But blowtorch marks on the grating and steel beams showed otherwise.
Bruce said it would cost about $100,000 to replace the bridge.
“It’s something you don't expect to lose,” he told the newspaper, adding: “It’s hard to understand why someone would put in that much effort.”