- Associated Press - Friday, June 29, 2018

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) - A northwestern Indiana scrap-metal dealer accused of demolishing a historic bridge and selling the metal for $18,000 wants a federal charge against him dismissed.

Kenneth Morrison’s attorney said Thursday that he plans to ask a federal judge to toss out the interstate transportation of stolen property charge, the Post-Tribune reported.

Morrison operates T&K; Metals in Whiting. He was indicted last year on allegations he took metal from a 1910 railroad drawbridge that spans the Grant Calumet River in Hammond and sold it to an Illinois scrap dealer.

Morrison allegedly dismantled the structure, also known as the Monon Bridge, between December 2014 and January 2015 after two failed attempts to purchase the bridge from the city, according to court documents. Morrison negotiated with Hammond to scrap the bridge’s metal in 1991 and again in September 2014, the court records show.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources ordered Morrison to stop work in 2015 after discovering he was dismantling the bridge without a permit, court documents allege. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management was inspecting the city at the same time and found creosote-soaked timbers and steel were left in the river.

Morrison’s attorney Sheldon Nagelberg said the city never offered proof it owned the bridge.

R.J. Powers, an attorney with the U.S. Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section, said the issue of whether the city or another entity owned the bridge doesn’t matter because Morrison wasn’t permitted to scrap the bridge.

Powers said Morrison has no rightful claim to the bridge. He said it’s a felony because Morrison took the bridge and crossed state lines to sell the scrap.

Presiding Judge Philip Simon called the case weird and fascinating. He’ll review a motion to dismiss the case once it’s filed.

“This seems ridiculous. This is so weird,” Simon said. “It’s a bridge that has been sitting out there for 30 years.”


Information from: Post-Tribune, http://posttrib.chicagotribune.com/

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