CHESTERFIELD, N.H. -- Three barrels and two planters filled with flowers were reported stolen from the Justice Harlan Fiske Stone Pedestrian Bridge late last week.
Marie Del Sesto, a member of the Chesterfield Arch Bridge Beautification & Preservation Society, said she noticed the five items were missing when she went to water the flowers on Friday. She said she immediately looked over both sides of the bridge to see if the objects were floating in the water and then called Society President Lorraine Scrivani, who helped her search the land on either side of the river.
Scrivani said she notified the police and Del Sesto said she believes there is more than one culprit, as each barrel was too heavy for one person to lift or move. The planters holding petunias were the first things she discovered were missing.
"I was very annoyed. I was very angry," Del Sesto said, adding she cannot fathom why anyone would do something like this.
The Chesterfield Police Department confirmed that Scrivani got in contact with authorities.
Del Sesto said three of the five hula hoops hung at one end of the bridge to resemble the Olympic rings in the honor of the London Games have been taken and the two remaining were broken. The Olympic rings are a well-known emblem of the international competition meant to represent each of the five continents involved. She said it was an inexpensive symbolic decoration but it still upsets her that someone
Del Sesto said a wooden planter -- designed by a Keene State College student -- shaped like the bridge is still there because it is nailed to the concrete. She said it has been at the bridge since the spring.
Scrivani said she heard two young boys on bicycles were responsible for what happened but has not had this confirmed. She said the barrels cost $40 each and the planters were $10 apiece. The flowers, which were donated, had a value of $120, according to Scrivani.
She said the bridge does not have a problem with theft or vandalism. She e-mailed Bob Cornellier, who she said is a member of the Brattleboro Fire Department Dive Team and once discovered the remains of the suspension bridge at the bottom of the Connecticut River. The original bridge was built in 1888 and destroyed by a 1936 flood.
"I just said, ‘If you're down there any time soon, check to see if you can find the barrels,'" Scrivani explained. "We're very upset. We've put a lot of time and effort into this project."
The pedestrian bridge -- used only by walkers, bicyclists and individuals casting fishing lines off the side -- is parallel to the United States Navy Seabees Bridge that was built in 2003. It used to carry Route 9 traffic across the Connecticut River.
The society's objective is to beautify the bridge as much as possible and someday have it painted.
The bridge was named after Harlan Fiske Stone, a Chesterfield native that went on to serve as a Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.