AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — Akron police have investigated the theft of all kinds of valuables over the years, but for the first time in anyone’s memory detectives are trying to find out who stole a bridge.
At one time, the pedestrian bridge was along the Little Cuyahoga River in Middlebury Run Park, which sits in the shadow of Goodyear World Headquarters on Akron’s East End.
However, the complete 58-foot-long span was removed from the park as part of a wetlands restoration project and moved to a field along Seiberling Street.
The city of Akron had hoped to repurpose the $40,000 bridge, but on Nov. 11, police were notified that it had been stolen.
There are tracks in the field that show where the thieves drove their truck or trucks. Investigators say they are not sure what the crooks plan to do with the bridge.
“It could be used for 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,” said. Lt. Mike Miller.
Investigators describe the bridge as a large Lego or erector set that would be relatively 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,” Miller said.
Detectives say the theft of the bridge was actually done in phases, beginning on Nov. 3, when the thieves cleared the brush around the span and then removed all of the deck boards from the structure.
Authorities have concluded the bridge has little recycling value, so their best guess is that the suspects are looking for someone in the market for a complete pedestrian bridge or the components of the bridge.
“Someone in the viewing area has access to some information that we need and this is the ‘whodunit’ where we really need the community’s help to point us in the right direction to find the people responsible for removing that bridge,” Miller said.
Anyone with information about the theft of the bridge is asked to call Akron police detectives at 330-375-2490.