There are crimes -- and then there are crimes that leave one with the head-scratching feeling.
Take the one that was reported to Columbus police on April 1 in Shirley Winston Park, a city facility with a gym, baseball fields, a swimming pool and a football field.
No, this is not a late April Fool's joke, though if you keep reading, it is outlandish and brazen enough to be one.
A person -- or persons, and I am betting on the latter -- went into the facility and stole all of the benches off the football field bleachers.
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Let's repeat that so there is no misunderstanding. They did not take the bleachers, just aluminum benches that were once securely attached.
The city has placed the cost of the damage around $10,000, Parks and Recreation Director James Worsley said last week. The city, which is self-insured, has yet to replace the benches. And that is becoming a matter of urgency with the Columbus Youth Football league registering players. The Eastway Cherokees play in Shirley Winston, and right now it looks as though it will be standing room only, literally.
Worsley said the Parks and Rec Department could not replace the benches until after July 1 because the money to do so was not budgeted.
"We are hopeful we will be able to replace all of the bleachers." Worsley said.
It is a sad looking sight right now. The three sections of bleachers, two on the press box side closest to the rec center and one on the visitor's side, were targeted by the crooks. Each section can seat about 150 people.
The crime, which obviously took a little time to complete, has both Worsley and City Manager Isaiah Hugley shaking their heads.
"It blows my mind," Hugley said. "I did not believe it when they first brought it to my attention. I sent them back for the basic information."
What's hard to believe is a crook -- or crooks -- had the time to unscrew all of those bench tops. It had to take hours. Each section has eight rows, and there is a walkway in the middle. So that is at least 48 benches that had to be unscrewed.
"It had to be very difficult," Worsley said. "I can't fathom when, why and how it happened."
Hugley, who runs in the park most mornings, said the city will work hard to get the bleachers fixed before Eastway games starts.
"Those kids and their parents deserve a place to sit," he said.
Now, as a public service, if you know anything about who would steal football bleachers, please call Columbus police at 706-654-3400. And if they catch -- and convict -- the culprits, they should put them on the 50-yard-line of the Shirley Winston field and let the Eastway Cherokees use them as tackling dummies.
Mike Owen will return next week. And I might buy him a beer because I will be so glad to see him.