Thieves take 10-tonne Czech bridge in metal heist

PRAGUE - Thieves in the Czech Republic have made away with a ten-tonne steel pedestrian bridge in the latest case of scrap metal heists plaguing the country, police said.

“The police know the identity of thieves, an investigation is underway,” local police spokeswoman Katerina Bohmova told AFP.

Using a crane, a crafty group of thieves dismantled the bridge and about 200 metres (218 yards) of railway track using a crane, SZDC, a company managing Czech railway infrastructure confirmed.

The thieves even managed to dupe police officers during a routine check as they were dismantling the booty, showing officers forged documents saying they were working on a new bicycle path.

The stolen metal is valued at around 4,800 euros (S$7,904), according to the SZDC.

The pedestrian bridge was part of a derelict local railway line infrastructure linking the western Czech villages of Loket and Horni Slavkov.

Such crime has become very common in the Czech Republic, an EU member since 2004. Enticing sums paid by scrap dealers are attracting a growing army of metal thieves, usually from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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