A 550-ton bridge in India was stolen by a gang of thieves, per the news agency Asian News International (ANI).
The men dismantled the bridge in broad daylight, ANI reported.
Two government employees and a local politician were later arrested, according to The Times of India.
A gang of thieves stole a 60-foot long, 550-ton bridge in northeastern India for its lucrative scrap value, according to the Indian news agency Asian News International (ANI).
Police have arrested eight men, including two government employees, a police official said, per ANI.
“We have arrested eight persons, including an SDO (subdivisional officer) of the water resources department, in connection with the theft of the bridge,” said Rohtas’s police superintendent Ashish Bharti, per ANI.
“The thieves stole the bridge in connivance with the SDO. We have recovered one JCB, stolen iron channels weighing about 247 kg, and other material,” Bharti continued.
The iron bridge across the Ara-Sone canal in Bihar, which was in a state of disrepair after being out of use since the early 2000s, was dismantled over three days from April 3, BBC News reported.
The gang wore government uniforms to avoid suspicion while working in broad daylight from 7 am daily, using cutting torches and excavators to tear it apart, BBC News said.
People in the village of Amiyavar were oblivious to the theft, the media outlet reported. “No one suspected it was a heist,” local journalist Jitendra Singh told the BBC.
In fact, the media outlet reported that some villagers were happy that the disused bridge was finally being removed.
A phone call to the irrigation department on April 5 by Pawan Kumar, a man from a nearby villager, was what alerted the police to the crime. Kumar reached out to local officials to ask why procedures were not being followed concerning the removal of the bridge, BBC News reported.
Police then launched an investigation and carried out raids after realizing that authorities had not issued an order for the bridge to be dismantled, the media outlet said.
Eight people were arrested, including government workers and a local politician.
Radhe Shyam Sing, a sub-divisional officer, was arrested, per The Times of India as was Arvind Kumar, who worked part-time for the irrigation department and told passers-by that the work had an “official sanction,” according to the BBC.
Also among those arrested was Shivkalyan Bhardwaj, a block-level leader of the Indian socialist party Rashtriya Janata Dal, The Times of India reported.
Four of the other arrested men worked in the scrap metal industry. Selling scrap metal to illegal factories can be a highly profitable business in India, according to Reuters.
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