Memorial Benches Returned to Ocean Beach

by on July 27, 2011 · 14 comments

in Media, Ocean Beach, Popular, San Diego

Turko Arranges for Benches to be Returned to Del Mar Avenue Bluff

The crew from Anton's Service, Inc. lowers the Cappellucci bench in place while Tony Cappellucci and Michael Turko look on.

Late this afternoon, on the bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean at the end of Del Mar Avenue in Ocean Beach, two memorial benches were lifted by crane off a truck and placed exactly where they had been before they were stolen on July 8th.

Tony and Cat Cappellucci and John Story – representing the families who had originally sponsored the benches – were on hand for the memorable occasion. An occasion exquisitely orchestrated by none other than Michael Turko from KUSI. Turko, having found both benches, arranged for them to be picked up at the junk yard and delivered to the end of Del Mar Avenue.

Cat Cappellucci, Michael Turko, John Story and Tony Cappellucci on the George Story memorial bench.

Turko had solicited some volunteers to do the heavy lifting – literally. “Turko’s fans”, he called them.   And just about on cue, at 4 pm this afternoon, Bob Turner of Bob’s Cranes Service arrived with his truck and crane, and then up drove the truck with the two benches strapped on.  The four Botter brothers – Anton, Andre, Adrian and Austin – also arrived with the trucks and they assisted Bob lift and then sit the benches down.  Their father – Anton, Sr. – was an avid fan of Turko’s and had helped him out in the past.  On July 1st, Anton passed away and his sons were carrying on his ‘tradition.’

Some neighbors had come out to watch the activities.  And as the one to two ton benches were returned to their places, there was a scattering of applause and some yells. With Turko was his cameraman and there was a team from Channel 10 as well. But since the Turko man had arranged all of it, he got the first shots and the first interviews with John Story and the Cappelluccis.

He turned to me and said, “Tell them the main story will be on at 10 pm!” His full report of this chapter of the benches will be broadcast at that time on KUSI, Channel 9.

After the initial excitement had passed, and people were starting to pack it up, I asked Michael Turko why this particular story had grabbed him.  His sharp response was immediate:

“These were public benches in a public park. No one has the right to steal them.  This made my blood boil.”

Turko also suggested that for the next few days, people stay on or hang out at the benches in shifts to ensure nothing happens to them.

Tony and Cat Cappellucci were beaming from ear to ear. Tony – a 15 year resident of OB – told me: “My son’s back. He’s back. Where he belongs.”

John Story was also pleased.  “We’re all happy that the bench has been returned to its rightful place.  Mom is very happy, very happy.”

The mood at the end of Del Mar was joyous.   As the volunteer work crew and the media departed, a couple of locals were discussing doing some brainstorming about how to deal with the small space of public right of way where the benches stood. Ideas like neighbors watering the vegetation, and other volunteers doing some landscaping were being floated about. It all sounded good.  Sounds like the “OB Way”.



{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

annagrace July 27, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I hope this is the happy ending, or a happy beginning!


obecean July 27, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Great job OB Rag!! That Turko is one helluva a mf’n asskicker, too. Quite a contrast to the limp ineffectuals at the City who don’t seem to do a darn thing anymore. Great coverage on this OB-centric story!!

The benches are back!!


Andy Cohen July 27, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Unfortunately this may not be the end of the story. It appears that the city has no record of any permits of any kind being issued for either bench, and the program under which the Story bench was placed no longer exists. The plot, sadly, thickens…..More in my OB Town Council report……


obecean July 27, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Ya right! Are you suggesting that the City may remove the benches?

That will go over real well! LMFAO!!


Andy Cohen July 27, 2011 at 9:30 pm

No, I’ve been told they won’t. But it still presents a bit of a dilemma.


obecean July 27, 2011 at 9:42 pm


I believe the only dilemma existing at this point is the one involving the limp wristed police department and the politically motivated DA’s office & their unwillingness to do the people’s business by prosecuting the thieving, adjacent landowner– Robert Bryson who clearly does not understand what the term public property means and has no problem STEALING PUBLIC MEMORIAL BENCHES.

Perhaps we all need to remind elected officials exactly who they represent……


JEC July 30, 2011 at 10:19 am

I’m pretty sure the city does not write permits for placing benches (park equipment) on public park space owned by the city. But in admittedly crazy times, it’s possible for our city to get confused over how to issue a permit to themselves.


La Playa Heritage July 27, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Great job Turko and Obceans.

If help is needed with the Permit process, please contact us.


OB Dude July 27, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Right on!

Why must we have to put so much effort into keeping things that make life pleasant? Like benches to sit on and enjoy an ocean view or pines trees that are old, full of character and offer shade?

OB Rag Rocks and so does the Turko Man!


Frank Gormlie July 27, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Here’s Wed night’s Turko Files:


Sunshine July 27, 2011 at 11:51 pm

hey editor dude, turko referenced the OBRag in this segment, yet said “OBRag (dot) com”……oops. perhaps he can mention the Rag again using OBRag (dot) org


Judith Story July 27, 2011 at 11:50 pm

“Thank You” to all involved in seeing that the memorial benches were returned to the bluff where they belong. The support of the Ocean Beach community is greatfully appreciated. Aloha Judith Story


Frank Gormlie July 28, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Patty – great job on your very first edited video! Whooo-ooooh!


Frank Flanagan July 28, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Hats off to the Turk, but the DA now has to do the right thing and prosecute the bum who hired the crane company to illegally remove public property from public property. The OB Scrooge, Robert Bryson, and the criminal (you need a city/ county permit to remove public property dummy!) crane operator, George Gonzalez, need to pay heft fines, and do some jail time, or at least some community service. No–I have not heard a single public apology for pain caused to these families, or the community. Although this seems like a happy ending because some good people stopped some bad people from doing a bad thing, justice will not be served until the families and the community are given some for of restitution for this sick crime. This is my opinion, and I suspect the opinion of many others in OB.


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