An empty relic of history, lately things have been disappearing from the old Olympia beer brewery in Tumwater. In May thieves made off with a pair of bronze urns that marked the gravesites of Olympia Brewing Co. founder Leopold Schmidt and his son Peter. And earlier this week two copper cherubs and a planter featured in the brewery's "It's the water" fountain just outside the main gates also disappeared - though this time it was a precautionary measure.
As The Olympian notes:
After bronze urns were stolen from the Schmidt House and some recent arrests took place at the brewery property, real estate broker Troy Dana decided it was time to place the cherubs and planter in storage before it was too late.
Four juveniles were arrested on suspicion of criminal trespass after they were found hanging out one afternoon in one of the brewery warehouses, Tumwater police detective Jen Kolb said.
Citing Shelton-based metal recycler Wilson Recycling, which apparently pays $2 per pound for copper, The Olympian deduces the Oly brewery cherubs could bring in around $500 on the scrap-metal market.
That's a lot of money, and it's likely that a similar payday is what inspired thieves to make off with the grave-marking bronze urns in mid-May. The urns had been in place since 1914, according to The Olympian.
According to The Olympian's report, the urns were about two-feet wide and two-feet high, weighing about 75 pounds each. They were heisted from from the grounds of the Schmidt House on Schmidt Place near the old Oly brewery, having held fresh flowers at the request of Leopold Schmidt before his death in 1914.
The Olympian expounds on the empty brewery's appeal to crooks and the curious:
The incident adds to what Freedman believes is a spike in area crime. Over the past few months, the brewery property has been hit by scavengers looking for scrap metal, and the Olympia Tumwater Foundation office was burglarized. The nonprofit foundation offers scholarships to area students.
"I don't think it was an intent to besmirch anyone or desecrate a grave site," Freedman said. "They saw bronze, which is primarily copper, and took it."
Lt. Jay Mason said Tumwater police haven't noticed a spike in crime.
"Everything comes in waves," Mason said. "There may be some things that happen once or twice in an area, and it goes away."
But he said the vacant brewery property draws people curious to see what's inside as well as those who want to steal what has been left behind.
"It's been a total magnet for people to come in, break in and steal metal and tools," Mason said. "It's a big huge area with a lot of buildings - an attractive nuisance for people."
Sounds like it's time for a new motto. The empty Olympia brewery: it's the metal.