HAMMOND, Indiana — If you thought you could get away with this, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.
An Indiana scrap metal dealer has been charged with stealing a rusting railway bridge bit by bit and selling it for cash despite being told repeatedly by officials to leave it alone.
Kenneth Morrison, owner of T & K Metals, had initially approached the city of Hammond back in 1991 about buying the remnants of the 107-year-old Monon Bridge for $500 and selling it for scrap but had his bid denied.
Then in 2014, Morrison tried again to buy the bridge — which spans the Grand Calumet River and hadn’t been used in decades — but before getting an answer from the city, or securing any permits, he began taking it apart and leaving large creosote-soaked chunks laying in the water, prosecutors say.
After local officials noticed the bridge was being taken apart, they eventually caught Morrison in the act. He defended his actions, claiming the bridge was clearly abandoned and was a danger that he was doing the city a favor by removing it.
Authorities say he took in $18,000 in cash for the scrap metal he sold to dealers in Illinois that had come from the bridge.
He has been charged federally with transporting stolen property across state lines. Morrison had previously been charged by Indiana officials with polluting the river.