Missing Beach Bench: The Sequel

On Friday I posted Laurie Crouse’s heart-wrenching story. The Compo Beach bench she’d bought to memorialize her late husband was missing.

But I had faith. I was sure it would turn up soon.

So did “06880” readers.

There are many benches, on every part of the beach. “They get moved around a lot,” wrote one commenter who had lost — and then found — her family’s bench.

Westporters promised to look carefully. Some said they’d make a special trip. A few folks theorized that a storm or exceptionally high tide had submerged the one with Martin’s plaque.

Martin Crouse’s bench

I did not realize that Laurie had sat on the bench earlier this month. There has been no bad weather since.

Now it turns out that hers is not the only memorial bench that’s gone missing.

Laurie writes that her good friend Vicki Mintz lost her husband Robert last year. She bought a bench, and had it placed next to Martin’s several months ago.

It too has vanished.

So are all the others that had provided such solace on the little peninsula between South Beach and the Ned Dimes Marina.

Laurie took a photo March 3. It shows Robert’s bench (left), moved from its original spot. Martin’s bench is further back. on the right. A third bench is in the shot too, behind the people.

Laurie Crouse’s March 3 photo.

All 3 benches are now gone.

The same scene, yesterday..

Vicki’s daughter investigated yesterday. She noted tire tracks on the sand

“It looks like a vehicle pulled up there,” Laurie says.

Tire tracks in the sand.

If this was an actual, premeditated theft: That’s awful. The benches are public property, sure. More importantly, they were purchased to honor people who loved Compo, and who themselves were loved.

Thieves stole more than benches. They tore out our neighbors’ hearts and souls.

Everyone does things they regret. If you’ve got the benches — or you know where they are — please do the right thing. Email dwoog@optonline.net, or text 203-984-9635. I’ll let Parks & Rec know where and how to pick up the benches.

Anonymity is assured. Getting the benches back is more important than making sure justice is done.

In the meantime, it’s come to this: Perhaps we need security cameras at the beach. Or at least at the entrance and exit roads.

It’s pretty clear those benches did not move themselves.

11 responses to “Missing Beach Bench: The Sequel

  1. J.E.Büttner

    The best solution to all that would be to fix the benches in the ground, so they can’t be moved or stolen.
    These benches in their original position, where they were placed had a meaning to someone, so why should even somebody be able to move them around for a different view.
    When they are fixed in the ground, the also receive a more memorial like value, as for example the wooden benches in the BBQ area which are moved around all the time.

    • Terry Brannigan

      Just seeing this. What a sh@#y thing to do. The Brannigans would love to contribute to a replacement. I know it’s not a money thing, but regardless, 06880 strong.

      As the song goes… you mess with one of us you get us all 😎

  2. Michael J Krein

    the problem is even if they chain the benches to the ground, a THIEF can cut the chains and then go on their thieving way.

  3. Kristan Hamlin

    The photo shows houses right across the strip of water from the spot from where the benches are. The POLICE should ask the owners of those homes whether they have security cameras that may have picked up the truck that pulled up and stole these three benches. That should be done promptly, before those private security cameras erase footage from 30 days before.

    Selectman Marpe and the WPD should have sought years ago installation of cameras at the gatehouse, the exterior of the two houses that contain the bathroom facilities, the lifeguard house, as well as the Ned Dimes small house. I have little doubt that, if those requested cameras do not contain facial recognition technology, they would be approved by the BOF and RTM.

  4. Laurie Crouse

    Terry the town policy is that they are responsible for the benches for the first 8 years. These benches are a substantial investment but so worth it as they are also a gift to the town. In my case, Martin’s bench is 9 plus years old. I I just learned than my amazing colleagues at my Coldwell Banker office have created a fund for a new bench. I’m touched and grateful for your offer. As I told my colleagues I pray for the old bench to be returned somehow but if it’s not, the new bench will be infused with the love of my community and have a story of its own. I think if you contact my manager, Lisa Passavant, she can coordinate a contribution. The office number is 203-227-8424

    • I know the benches are very heavy & it sounds unlikely … wondering if there is any chance they were swept under water by high tides & wind (we’ve had some very strong wind storms – I recall the 06880 photo of the picnic table in the tree!)

  5. Kevin McCaul

    It seems that Winslow Park had several benches in the past and now there are just a few.

  6. Thank you Dan and Laurie for for mentioning Robert’s bench, which is also missing. Our bench did not have our last name, simply, “For Robert…We danced our way to the stars…”
    Each weekend my 1 1/2 yr old granddaughter places a hand painted rock on Robert’s bench. We would marvel that these special stones would remain on the bench for weeks! We tell her stories of her Grandpa and times spent in
    this marina. How many years, how much time Robert would chill on his boat and fish from this very spot! And to honor him here has been so perfect! I am awed by our strong compassionate community….My gratitude and love -Vicki Mintz

  7. Laurie Croude

    Vicki keep the faith that now that Martin’s has surfaced, that Robert’s will too and take its rightful place along side Praying for a happy ending for you and and your family, too.
    Dan, thank you for being a unbelievable advocate for the bench’s return
    And wow what a fast response from the police,who I never even called

  8. Ana Pedersen Unum

    The Chou Chou Merrill memorial bench in Westport went missing as well.

  9. Laurie Crouse

    OH no! Where was her bench located???