Owners need help moving stolen Farmington bridge

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News
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Farmington Hills — A couple of weeks ago, Robert Cortis desperately wanted his missing bridge home.

Now, he wants someone to help move the 40-foot-long, six-foot-wide, seven-foot-tall trestle. Temporarily.

The bridge, which weighs between 5,000 and 10,000 pounds, was taken at the beginning of December without Cortis' permission from his property off Cass Street near Gill. The bridge had spanned the Taribussi Creek undisturbed for 25 years. It was built by his father and an uncle at a cost back then of $10,000, just in the steel materials.

After being called about the purloined bridge, police later located it about 20 miles away where it had been hauled away to a Belleville construction yard and was slated to be sanded and repainted.

The bridge has since been returned to Cortis and trailered to an undisclosed location in the Brighton area where he plans to keep a better eye on it and restore it to its former glory.

Cortis said he is keeping to his promise to police to take his bridge back "no questions asked."

"We know who took it and there have been some discrepancies in the reasons why and how," he said. "The bottom line is they wanted it and thought it had been abandoned. So I guess we will just let it go at that."

Cortis envisions eventually using the bridge in a landscaped site for catered wedding celebrations and photographs.

"I eventually want to use it as part of my catering business for weddings," Cortis said, " ... possibly at my banquet center in Green Oak Township. But right now I would like to find a sponsor interested in relocating it to one of the bridal shows scheduled in February at the Novi Expo Center or at the Palace of Auburn Hills. I've moved it once so I know what equipment is needed and how to do it right.

"I think it would be a great way for people to enter or leave these bridal shows and also help advertise its possible use at weddings," said Cortis, who said interested sponsors can reach him through his website mrpartysir@aol.com.

Meanwhile, veteran lawmen such as Farmington Hills Police Chief Chuck Nebus admit the stolen bridge caper remains "one for the books." And also good for the department's missing property stats.

"We are batting one thousand in the recovery of missing bridges," Nebus cracked recently. "I don't know any other departments which can say that."


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