Mystery of the Missing Ocean Beach Memorial Benches Remains Unsolved

by on July 19, 2011 · 15 comments

in Ocean Beach, Popular

The sudden and unexplained disappearance of two concrete memorial benches at the end of Del Mar Ave. in Ocean Beach remains very much a mystery.  Both the Cappellucci family and the Story family are perplexed that anyone would steal the benches placed on public property, and of late are without any answers as to why they are missing.

As has been reported here and in other media sources throughout San Diego, the benches were removed sometime between 7am and 9am on July 8th.  A spokesman in Councilman Kevin Faulconer’s office said that the Councilman and his staff have been working diligently with the San Diego Police Department to find out what happened.  Faulconer’s office has confirmed with City staff, though, that the City was not involved in the benches’ removal.

“Councilman Faulconer feels terrible for the Cappelluccis,” said the spokesman.  “He would like to see both benches returned.”

According to both the Cappelluccis and the Storys, the benches were legally placed at the end of Del Mar overlooking the cliffs of Ocean Beach.  The benches were paid for by each family–the Cappellucci bench memorializing their son Anthony who succumbed to brain cancer two years ago, and the Story bench memorializing George Story, a former San Diego Union reporter and civil servant who passed in 2000—and were installed following procedures established by the City of San Diego.  Both families say that proper permits were received before the benches were allowed to be placed.

Correspondence between the City and the Cappelluccis would seem to support that assertion.  Catherine Cappellucci says that she received a phone call from Mayor Jerry Sanders’ office offering the Mayor’s support.  They have also been receiving assistance from Faulconer’s office.

There is some speculation among local residents that the owner of the property adjacent to where the benches were placed may have had something to do with their disappearance.

Catherine "Cat" Cappellucci

The Cappelluccis are working with the City Parks and Recreation Dept. to obtain copies of the original permits they received when the bench was initially placed.  In the meantime, U.S. Concrete–the company that made the original Anthony “Butch” Cappellucci memorial bench–has offered to replace it at no cost to the family, and the Mayor’s office and Councilman Faulconer’s office have both pledged to assist the family in making sure that the permitting for the new benches is expedited.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Citizen Cane July 19, 2011 at 10:19 am

Remember the Alamo.
Remember the Maine.
Remember the Pueblo.
and now….Remember the Benches.

It’s possible some good could come out of this sad story. I propose that the public take more of an active role in how these mini-parks are planned and maintained. Perhaps a subcommittee of the OB Planning Board. Until some official group arises, people should just come on down for a sunset. Meet the dead end street gang. They’re a likable bunch. Bring a folding patio chair to the foot of Del Mar. Bring your zither, tambourine, or bongo drums, because some planning meetings need music.


Frank Gormlie July 20, 2011 at 9:54 am

Hopefully it will get more interest than our ‘pub crawl’ the other night.


OB Dude July 19, 2011 at 11:21 am

ok, what day and time….let’s get the party started!


Sunshine July 19, 2011 at 12:16 pm

what a terrific idea. nightly musical tribute to the setting sun and those who are memorialized on the cliffs.

as for Sanders and Falconer … they better not be involved in these benches removal. many voting members of their town/district are watching and will be VOTING


Andy Cohen July 19, 2011 at 8:16 pm

I have been told (take it for what it’s worth) that no city agency was involved in the removal of the benches. Both Mayor Sanders’ office and Councilman Faulconer’s office have been involved in attempting to solve the mystery, and both men seem genuinely taken aback by their apparently unlawful disappearance. Their actions and their comments, both public and private to the Cappelluccis, would indicate that they were not in any way involved, but would very much like to see the benches returned.


Sunshine July 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm

on pg 36 of the Precise Plan, there are specific mentions of ‘street end benches.’ these have been planned for and anticipated since the Plan was written in 1975, so why oh why would anyone who cares anything about the OB Community remove them. must be a traitor in our midst.


OB Dude July 19, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Great Turko segment on tonight’s news. One adjacent neighbor made a very generous reward offer of $10,000.


OB Guy July 20, 2011 at 4:51 pm

The other adjacent neighbor is probably the culprit.


Susie March 4, 2013 at 11:52 pm

Yes, they were. He is also encroaching on City property and has placed a fence there for their truck and other items. Why are they allowd to get away with this? It is now 2013, and nothing has been done. He got away with a theft and now getting away with encroaching. I can’t even put my cans in the allley. (not that I want to but….)
It’s not right.


OB Mercy July 19, 2011 at 7:06 pm

What I do not understand from the original story, and I don’t think anyone else has mentioned it…..isn’t it kind of weird that someone took a picture with their iPhone of the crane…yet that same person didn’t get a pic of the truck or license plate??

And I couldn’t agree more….TJ doth protest too much…makes him look very suspicious!


tj July 20, 2011 at 7:31 am


Typical kneejerks.

No logic to advance their position, so feebly attempt to discredit the messenger.

Get a life, while there’s still time.

So am I banned?


BOBOB July 20, 2011 at 8:08 am

My guess the resident/residents there can’t stand people milling about next to “their” view. Cue a few incidents with homeless people camping out there and it’s not so strange to think one or more hired someone to pick the benches up and dispose of them. Can they actually catch them and prove it? Doubt it. Therefore I fully support the OB street end improvement committee and orchestra. A different spot each month, 1 day a week meetings to properly enjoy “our” views from each of these unique reprieves from city life. I will bring a cow bell, tambourine and cymbals. bring the noise.


john story July 20, 2011 at 11:53 am

Just learned from SDPD that both benches have been located in good shape! At this time, there are no further details as investigation continues.


OB Mercy July 20, 2011 at 12:26 pm

TJ, we still have free speech. Yours just seems too maliciously negative for no apparent reason. And I do have a life….mine just might be a wee bit happier than yours? I’m just sayin’……


tj July 21, 2011 at 7:03 am

Free Speech?

You gotta love it when close-minded hypocrites, who personally attack others for expressing a differing opinion – cry “Free Speech” when their false & malicious personal attacks are exposed.

If “ignorance is truly is bliss” – you must be the happiest … but then, why the false aspersions?

Humm …


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