By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Ive found a way to gauge the economic desperation of the times: Note what gets stolen from my church in the heart of South Dallas, a microcosm of economically hard-hit places. Heres the rundown of property-related crimes from the last 12 months, our most active period ever. And yes, we do have a monitored security system. Most recent activity first:
Stolen: the copper wire that grounds our electrical system. Now all of the microphones have a most annoying hum. It probably doesnt help that several metal scrapyards are three blocks away.
Stolen: two lawn mowers, one of which worked.
Squatted upon: our old building across the street, which until a few weeks ago was apparently the home of a homeless someone.
Stolen: the wiring for the air-conditioning in our old building.
Stolen: a portable gas-powered generator.
Stolen: an amplifier, swiped after someone busted through the front doors. All of this was captured on surveillance video. The thief had obviously been inside the church before.
Stolen: in broad daylight, a weed whacker. A swift young man in the church observed the theft on surveillance cameras and ran after the dude for several blocks until he dropped it. Dont try this at home.
Broken into: several cars, in broad daylight.
Stolen: an aluminum ladder.
Only the burglary was reported to police. None of us has the time to sit and wait hours for an investigator to arrive, knowing well never see the stolen goods again anyway.