Thieves steal 2,000 pound anchor, nobody notices | May 19, 2008

MILWAUKEE – The theft of a 6-foot-tall anchor, possibly weighing 2,000 pounds from a Naval Reservist Station has many in the western Wisconsin city of La Crosse shaking their heads.

Not only are they asking why and how it was stolen, but they wonder why no one noticed for months, even though the anchor is in a residential area, facing a well-traveled street.

Tom Sweeney said the subject came up last Wednesday at a meeting of the Naval Reservist Oversight Committee, which he chairs. The committee, which owns the anchor, is planning a memorial at the station.

The city took possession of the building earlier this year after the station closed. It last had drills in 2006.

A committee member asked where the gray-blue anchor went, said Sweeney, a city councilman whose district includes the station.

“And I said, ‘What do you mean ‘Where’s the anchor’?'” he said.

Sweeney, who served four years active duty in the Navy and 21 years in the reserves, went to look. Sure enough, the anchor was gone. He inquired at the fire department, which is nearby and uses the station for training exercises. Firefighters knew nothing. Neither did neighbors. And he asked the city, to make sure workers hadn’t removed it without telling anyone. No leads.

Coming up empty, Sweeney called police. He told them the anchor hadn’t been seen since Dec. 31. He couldn’t even remember the last time he saw it, but he figured it weighed less than the police said, most likely no more than 700 pounds.

Lt. Bob Berndt said police don’t think the theft was a prank because the anchor was so big and sat on a steel plate at least a quarter-inch thick. They consider it stolen.

“This doesn’t sound like any type of prank,” Berndt said. “This would take some serious effort, I think, to move this thing.”

Police have little to go on, since no one reported seeing anything. Berndt said police plan to talk to people responsible for removing snow from the building in the winter and mowing grass in the spring.

He figures most likely the anchor — which is made of ferrous metal — was sold for scrap. Typically, police have been able to track metal thefts at the area’s handful of scrap recyclers, but Berndt said thieves have been traveling farther to recyclers to avoid detection as metal prices rise and thefts increase.

The anchor had sat outside the building since it was commissioned in 1949, and the committee hopes to get it back, Sweeney said.

It never sailed on a boat and was most likely made by some reservists, he said. It was not insured.

The city is likely to sell the building, but Sweeney said the committee still hopes to establish a memorial on part of the site. The anchor would have been part of that.

He figures it was an easy theft because the anchor was sitting on a ledge about a foot-and-a-half tall, so someone could have easily put it onto a trailer. The anchor was on a base, but the base wasn’t attached to anything.

Sweeney said he’s hoping neighbors come forward to say they saw the anchor recently. That would mean it could still be intact, and there’s a chance of recovery.

“It definitely would have been part of our memorial, and now it’s gone,” he said.



Posted in Humor

1 Comment »

  1. HEBREWS 6:19 – the anchor that cannot be stolen*

    Comment by BROTHER HECTOR RIOS — September 16, 2008 @ 12:07 am

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