Stealing an entire bridge is no easy task, but getting away with pieces of small primitive bridges is no big deal for thieves. A suspect in Ankara, the Turkish capital, has proven that an entire bridge – or at least its footbridge – can be removed without attracting attention. However, the attacker ZK, a scrap metal collector, was eventually captured by security forces.
The bizarre theft, however, is not strange for a country where thieves once stole a movable bridge weighing 20 tonnes when it was removed for rehabilitation work from its original location over a stream overflowing into the northwestern province of Kocaeli in 2013.
Gömleksiz Stolen Bridge was located over the Kirmir stream in Beypazarı and was built in 1936. It fell into disuse more than four decades ago when a new and improved bridge was built after the old bridge was damaged by floods. Still, it was largely intact until 10 days ago when the suspect and a group of workers showed up. Unsuspecting locals thought they were officials in charge of demolishing the bridge, whose walkway was already partly demolished.
ZK and others used bulldozers and trucks to remove the bridge, aiming to sell some 70 tons of iron that the 500-metre-long (1,640 ft) bridge contained. They left behind only the concrete foundations of the bridge. Although locals did not report the crime, which took around four days to complete, gendarmerie forces patrolling the rarely used spot noticed the theft a few days later and launched an investigation. Eventually, ZK was arrested.
Media reported that the suspect had previously asked authorities to recover the iron parts of the unused bridge, but was rejected. The iron parts of the bridge were worth around $36,000 (500,000 TL) and were found disassembled in the suspect’s scrapyard in central Ankara.