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Michigan-based Trump Unity Bridge stolen, crashed in Oklahoma

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

The Michigan-based Trump Unity Bridge, a mobile attraction that often appears at political events in the state, was stolen and crashed over the weekend in Oklahoma, its owner says.

While on a national tour, Rob Cortis, 58, of Livonia, who owns the Unity Bridge, had gone into a hotel in Tulsa to reserve rooms, leaving the Yukon XL and the trailer that is the pro-President Donald Trump bridge with other members of his team.

The vehicle was running so people could continue to take pictures in front of the bridge, which includes lights, a Statue of Liberty and large letters that spell out "TRUMP."

Rob Cortis, owner of the Trump Unity Bridge, says this image shows the damage done to the attraction after it was briefly stolen in Oklahoma on Friday night.

At about midnight on Friday night, a man jumped in the vehicle and drove away.

“Rob, somebody’s stealing the Unity Bridge," Cortis said he was told as he was at the counter in the hotel. He left his wallet at the counter as he rushed out to determine what was happening, he said.

The man who took the bridge drove for a few miles before drawing the attention of police, going over an embankment and leaving the vehicle and its trailer jackknifed, Cortis said.

Drew Whipple, 37, of Tulsa, was arrested on complaints of eluding, endangering others, larceny of an auto after a former conviction of a felony and reckless driving, according to the Tulsa World newspaper.

Cortis and his team were still in Tulsa on Sunday afternoon where they continued to make repairs to the attraction. About $15,000 to $20,000 in damage was done to the vehicle, he said.

Rob Cortis owner of the Trump Unity Bridge parked the massive truck and trailer in support of President Donald Trump along Woodward Avenue at a "No Impeachment" rally on Saturday, December 14, 2019 in Bloomfield Hills.

"It’s making me stronger," Cortis said of the situation. "It’s giving me more inspiration.

“It shows that our education system about honor, integrity, patriotism and character needs to be worked on across America.”

The Unity Bridge was in Oklahoma as it continued a tour in support of Trump that started in late July. Cortis said he and his team had stopped as they drove from Texas to Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

Cortis built the Unity Bridge in 2016 ahead of that year's presidential election. The vehicle has its own website and has raised about $67,000 in donations since 2017, according to its Go Fund Me page.

In 2017, the trailer was vandalized in Alexandria, Virginia, as it was en route to a rally near the White House in support of the president. 

cmauger@detroitnews.com