Thieves who stole a 17.5m long stone bridge one night have finally been arrested, although they sold the bridge on before it could be recovered.
In November, villagers in the environs of Shanghai reported that the Fengle bridge, a historic 17.5m long stone bridge built in 1907, had disappeared, leaving only two supports standing.
Police eventually solved the mystery when they received a report from someone who had witnessed them dismantling the bridge in September, and had taken down their truck’s registration details.
After tracing the truck’s owner, they were told it had been loaned to the thieves, allowing police to effect the arrest of the two men responsible.
The local police chief says they admit making off with the bridge by cover of night:
“The two men confessed that they used two cranes and two trucks that night to lift and remove the 16 stone pieces that formed the floor of the bridge.”
The stone remains of the bridge were subsequently sold in another province, with the thieves having been paid some 30,000 yuan ($4,700) by a trader to make off with the structure.
A local museum official comments that the area only has 20 bridges left, of the 100 counted a century ago – roads, ruin and theft are cited as causes of this decline. Plans are afoot to rebuild the stolen structure.