Today's story on the theft of copper gutters and downspouts brought several postings from residents in North Baltimore, particularly in Homeland. Two people wrote in to describe their problems, and one describes a suspicious man who appeared to be scouting out homes with copper gutters.
And Sharon Caplan called me this morning from Pikesville to say that over the weekend someone took a heavy bronze statue that had been cemented into the ground in front of their house. They had named it Alexandria, after the city in Virginia where they triplets were born, and it was worth about $5,000. "I doubt they wanted it for the art value," Caplan told me.
Here are some of what readers had to say:
Just read your article. If you are seeking more information, Copper thieves stole the downspouts off the front of our house last Sunday night. I heard the noise and flew out of bed in the middle of the night (3:00 a.m.) and must have scared them off by turning on the lights, thereby saving the rest of the downspout and gutter. We live in Stoneleigh. We didn't notice the theft until it rained on Tuesday. Without the downspout the water seeped against the front our foundation resulting in a flooded basement. The repairs are estimated at approximately $2,000. Oh, and we have only been living in the house for two months.
From Judy Myers:
Although I too am a board member of the Homeland HOA, I am writing as a city resident and tax payer. I am also the organizer for our neighborhood's Citizen on Patrol. I chose to move back to the city after living in the county for 6 years. Prior to that I had lived in Charles Village for 11 years so I'm not new to city living (good and bad). This time I chose to live in Homeland because of its convenience, beauty, and history. I also accepted the high taxes that came with my decision to buy here.
My comments and concerns are similar to those expressed by Mr. Feldman and Mr. McWilliams. There are issues with our streets and schools but I'd like to focus on the safety and security of my fellow neighbors. I know the city has more serious crime issues than stolen gutters and minor property thefts. However there is no guarantee that the severity of our crimes won't get worse as people get more desperate. We've had at least one attempted burglary/home invasion in the past few months. With Christmas approaching, I expect to hear about packages being stolen from porches by people who are following the UPS trucks making deliveries. We alert the neighborhood to have packages shipped to offices but in some cases it is not possible.
I know that the city's budget is hurting as much as in the private sector. However, some occasional police presence would be appreciated. In the 2 years I've lived here I've seen two police cars in Homeland and they were both responding to calls. A patrol now and then might help reduce the nuisance crimes that our neighborhood seems to be plagued with recently.
Homeland as a whole pays a lot of taxes and yet it seems to get very little in return (other than a great recycling and trash service-kudos to the DPW). If Homeland becomes known for petty crimes, it will be a less desirable place to live and the tax base will be reduced.
Please take our concerns into consideration and offer more police presence for the safety and peace of mind for the residents of our neighborhood.
To everyone: There is a white guy about 5'6" or so who on two consecutive days was wearing a bandana on his head, scruffy look, walks with hunch/slant but quickly as he walks the street in your neighborhood w/ a "flier" in his hand, driving an older model small black pickup truck w/a ladder that drapes from the tailgate over his roof. He comes into neighborhoods holding a flier and asks if you want your gutters cleaned. Actually, he is scouting your home to determine if you have copper gutters. He was in a residential neighbor in Towson on 2 consecutive days, including back to a house that previously told him they didn't need gutters cleaned because they have gutter guards. Well, the same guy was back at the house on the back porch when he was confronted by the homeowner's relative who happened to stop by, but was there the day before when the same guy asked the homeowner if he needed his gutters cleaned.
Why was he back the next day on the back porch "scouting". Not only is it gutters, but he is also looking to break in your house. The same guy was in the neighborhood a week after this incident and attempted to break in to a house where he thought the homeowner wasn't home, but a friend was staying there.
The BCPD should call the Towson precinct and coordinate using this information. A Corporal Healey or Hurley(?) came out to one neighborhood to investigate. Keep your eyes open.