Turkey: 86-year-old bridge stolen in Ankara secretly without drawing attention

Stealing an entire bridge is not an easy feat but getting away with bits and pieces of small, primitive bridges is not a big deal for thieves.

A suspect in the Turkish capital Ankara proved that you can remove an entire bridge without drawing attention. However, the perpetrator Z.K., a junk collector, was ultimately captured by security forces.

The bizarre theft, though, is not strange for a country where thieves once stole a movable bridge weighing 20 tons when it was removed for rehabilitation work from its original location over an overflowing stream in the northwestern province of Kocaeli in 2013.

The stolen Gömleksiz bridge was located on Kirmir Stream in Beypazarı and was built in 1936. It fell into disuse more than four decades ago when a new, better bridge was built after the old bridge was damaged in 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 tasked with demolition of the bridge.

Z.K. and others employed bulldozers and trucks to remove the bridge, with the aim of selling some 70 tons of iron the 500-meter-long bridge contained. They only left the concrete foundations of the bridge behind.

Though locals did not report the crime, which took some four days to carry out, gendarmerie forces patrolling the seldom-used spot noticed the theft a few days later and launched an investigation. Eventually, Z.K. was detained.

Media outlets reported that the suspect had earlier applied to authorities to collect the iron parts of the unused bridge but was rejected.

Iron parts of the bridge were worth around $36,000 and were found disassembled at the suspect’s junkyard warehouse in central Ankara.