Pieces of Hart history stolen

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 29, 2010

Two men are jailed and another is wanted after they allegedly cut, stole and sold steel I-beams from the historic Hart’s Bridge.

Sheriff Dennis Meeks said a Covington County engineering department employee reported the discovery Wednesday to the Sheriff’s Office.

The historic Hart’s Bridge is located next to the new cement bridge on Hart’s Bridge Road in the Mobley Creek Community.

“That day, Deputy Mike Vigor went to the scene to document the damage and to look for any recoverable evidence,” Meeks said. “When he arrived, he caught several men using a welder’s torch to cut steel beams from the old bridge structure.”

Meeks said Vigor detained three of the men – Cody Brian Grantham, 20, of Brewton; Joshua Allen Gradeless, 19, of East Brewton; and a third man from Brewton – until Investigator Greg Jackson could arrive.

A fourth man – identified later by Jackson as Eric Wayne Haskew, 21, of Brewton – fled on foot.

Meeks said Grantham and Gradeless confessed to taking the steel from the bridge and selling it, and stated that the third man had nothing to do with the thefts and damage. That man was released without charges.

Grantham and Gradeless is each charged with first-degree theft of property, a class B felony, and first-degree criminal mischief, a class C felony. Each was held in the Covington County Jail under a $30,000 bond.

“It is sad to see an important piece of Covington County history violated like this,” Meeks said. “Their behavior is absolutely unacceptable, and we intend to hold them to the fullest accountability under the law.”

2 men have been charged and a third is wanted for stealing and selling pieces of the historic Hart’s Bridge in the Mobley Creek community.

Haskew is now wanted by the CCSO for his part in the thefts. Anyone with any information should call the CCSO at 334-427-4911.