Police Locate Stolen OH Pedestrian Bridge
A 58-foot-long, 10-foot-wide and six-foot-high pedestrian bridge in Akron, Ohio, has been found after disappearing in November, but investigators are still unclear as to why it was stolen.
The bridge was once installed along the Little Cuyahoga River in Middlebury Run Park, but was removed in 2003 and 2004 as part of a creek and wetlands restoration project. It was stored in a nearby field, as the city reportedly had plans to reuse the bridge as part of a parking lot project for the Battered Women’s shelter.
On Nov. 3, a passerby reported that the brush around the bridge had been cleared and the treated deck boards were missing. Police say that on Nov. 11, the entire 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],” said Lt. Michael Miller. “We know it will be met with mystery and questions: who and how and why? All of those are unanswered. It ranks high on the list of mysteries, that’s for sure.”
Investigators found tire tracks in the field, showing where the thieves drove their truck or trucks.
“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 said. “It’s described as a big Lego-like device.”
The bridge was reportedly valued at $30,000-$40,000. However, since the bridge is made mostly of a polymer-based material, it wouldn’t make it very valuable to a scrapper or recycler. Miller said that they could possibly use it for landscaping or another engineering project.
“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?'” Miller said.
Finding the Bridge
Acting on tips they received from the public, investigators obtained a search warrant to search a Medina County property on Dec. 20, where they found the bridge partially disassembled.
Police arrested 63-year-old David Bramley of Sharon Township on charges of felony theft. According to the Akron Police Department, Bramley had paid a trucking company for crane service to pick up the bridge and transport it to the property.
Following the discovery, authorities said that the bridge would be brought back to Akron in the next few days. No motive was provided for as to why the bridge was taken.
Bramley was scheduled to be arraigned in Akron Municipal Court on Dec. 23. Court records did not indicate if he has an attorney.
“Members of the Akron Police Department work tirelessly every day, to foster and strengthen relationships, while enhancing public trust throughout the community,” said Akron Police on Facebook. “Utilizing the spirit of those partnerships, detectives, along with law enforcement personnel from neighboring jurisdictions, were able to help locate the stolen bridge and bring this investigation to a close.”