Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thieves in the night: hardly a random act

This was the scene at Madison Park Hardware on Thanksgiving morning, following a break-in the previous night. The store (located at 1837 42nd Avenue E.) has been broken into many times in the past, but I believe that forced entry usually occurs through the alley side. In this case, the front door was the access point, the burglars either battering or kicking the door in, breaking the glass, damaging the door frame, and wrecking the kick plates. Not a pretty sight, and one that the police and the store owners were investigating when I wandered by during the morning; so there was no immediate assessment of the consequences.

Unfortunately, this kind of criminal activity is becoming all too common in the neighborhood lately, at least based on anecdotal evidence. At a recent meeting of the Madison Park Community Council, more than one third of the audience raised their hands when asked whether they had been recent victims of either a car or house burglary. One of my neighbors actually reported that the front seats had been stolen out of his parked car during the summer.

I will be doing a posting next week concerning the East Precinct's Crime Prevention efforts. At least for residential areas, a formalized block watch program might be one way to help fight crime in the 'hood. More to follow...

UPDATE: Scott McKee of Madison Park Hardware reports by email that the burglars, in what was clearly a premeditated act, stole the store's safe and apparently brought their own hand truck in order to cart the safe out of the store.
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UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Antiques and fine furnishings store Maison Michael II (4118 East Madison St.) was also hit that night, presumably by the same brazen crew that broke into Madison Park Hardware. Owner Michael Schoonmaker told me that the store was entered through a side window, probably sometime between 3 and 4 in the morning. The store was not trashed, fortunately, but some items were taken, including the store's computer.

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