Every day, thieves steal things that do not belong to them. Most of these criminals take things that can be quickly turned around for cash, like televisions, jewelry, and other valuable belongings. But in Ohio, one thief decided to steal something that was much larger and harder to sell on the black market. In November, Ohio police announced that a large bridge from Middlebury Run Park in Akron was going to go through some repairs.

Authorities removed the deck boards on November 3, 2021, and then began clearing brush that had been growing along the path of the bridge. They moved the bridge to a field on the south side of the river where the state had some space available near an office building. They planned to reuse parts of the old bridge for the building of a women’s shelter project. However, they would never get their chance to turn that old wood into a new build.

Police were stunned when they realized that someone had stolen the bridge from the field. They found it completely missing just a few days later, on November 11. The bridge had been 58 feet long and 10 feet wide. It was also six feet high. Despite all of the materials that had gone into making the bridge, someone had made them vanish seemingly overnight, and the town of Akron wanted to know what happened – and so did the local police.

In an effort to get the community involved in the hunt for the bridge thief, the police wrote a social media post about the stolen goods. People shared their shock and surprise in the comments, which included many responses like the following:

“The price of wood… I’m not surprised,” one person wrote in reference to how much the price of wood has increased since the start of the pandemic.

Another person wrote in the comments, “What house in the area has a ‘new’ old deck?!”

Some people felt that the authorities that moved the bridge should have done a better job storing it. By throwing the pieces of wood in a field next to a large office building, the thief might not have been a thief at all but just someone who thought they were salvaging raw materials that were going to go to the dump.

Because police knew that someone had to have access to large equipment to move the bridge, they began to tighten their search. That’s when they happened upon an operation 63-year-old David Bramley was involved in the neighboring Medina County. He thought the wood was abandoned, so he rented a crane to transport the wood to his property.

The police said, “Detectives discovered that Bramley … paid a local trucking company for crane service. The crane was later used to place the bridge on and off a vehicle that transported it to the Medina County property.”

Akron police published an update on Facebook: “Friday afternoon, around 2:45 p.m., a team of police officers converged on a property in Medina County and conducted a search warrant. During a search of the property, the bridge was found partially disassembled. Bramley was arrested and charged with Felony Theft. Members of the Akron Police Department work tirelessly every day to foster and strengthen relationships while enhancing public trust throughout the community. 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. Arrangements are being made to ship the bridge back to Akron in the coming days.”