Police seek return of historic Bridge Street School sign

Adam Hushin, Journal Inquirer, Manchester, Conn.
·2 min read

Feb. 23—SUFFIELD — The sign for the historic Bridge Street School, which is being demolished, has gone missing, police say.

Police Chief Richard Brown said his department theorizes that whoever took the sign did so with the intent of preserving a piece of town history.

"We are pretty sure whoever took it probably thought it was going to be destroyed when the building was demolished and were not aware that the town had planned on reusing the sign," Brown said.


WHAT: The historic sign for Suffield's Bridge Street School has gone missing.

WHEN: It was reported missing on Friday, Feb. 19.

THEORY: Police Chief Richard Brown believes someone took the sign to preserve it, but the town already had its own plans to do so.

The nearly 100-year-old former school building has been vacant since 2004. In 2015, residents approved an $8.4 million renovation to the building.

But in 2017 the project was put on hold due to complications with other renovation projects in town and a lack of state funding. In October 2019, the selectmen voted to rescind the project and demolish the school. Residents approved that decision in a referendum in February of last year.

On Oct. 21 the town finalized plans for demolition, which has since begun.

On Friday, a Public Works Department employee who was assisting with the demolition project reported to police that the sign was missing, Brown said. He said his department spent the next day verifying with other town departments that they hadn't removed the sign.

"We are investigating the matter like all other matters that are brought to our attention," Brown said.

The chief said he suspects someone took the sign in an effort to preserve a piece of the school. But he said the town already had plans to use the sign once the demolition project is completed.

If the sign is returned soon, he added, the case probably won't lead to criminal charges.

"If the person who had it intended on preserving it and after learning it was going to be re-used, they returned it, I believe the town would be satisfied with the resolution and not move forward with charges," Brown said.

Suffield police announced on their Facebook page Saturday that the sign had gone missing and asked that it be returned so that it could be preserved as planned.

Since then, there has been no update in the investigation, but Brown said he remains hopeful.

"While it has not turned up, we are still hopeful that it will appear in the coming days," the chief said.

Adam covers the towns of Enfield and Suffield. For more updates, follow Adam on Twitter: @AHushinJI and Facebook: Adam Hushin.