There are some large and generally predictable drawbacks to living a stone's throw from Vickery Meadows' Five Points intersection, which is a notorious hotbed of crime. Steve Parker learned as much soon after moving into his Hemlock Avenue condo in 2008.
Things started innocuously enough when someone kicked a hole in his fence. The next month, he was walking to his mailbox when he saw someone driving a nail into the tire of his 2005 Chevy Cobalt. Then someone kicked another hole in his fence.
All told, Parker has reported to police 14 instances of burglary, robbery, theft, and vandalism in the past five years. There was the time a weedeater and leaf blower that were stolen from his storage shed. An "X" that was keyed onto his trunk. The trespasser who showed Parker the pistol tucked in his waistband and threatened murder. The neighborhood kid who punched Parker in the face and stole his phone after asking to use it to call his mom. The stolen car.
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The list goes on. Reading police reports, one gets the distinct impression that Parker has somehow become the target of every petty criminal in Vickery Meadow.
The ultimate indignity came early Monday morning, about 2 a.m., when he spotted a couple of men loading his potted plants into their Infiniti. Three weeks prior, someone had stolen eight baskets of pansies. He'd followed the trail of broken petals to a nearby apartment complex, where he found two of the baskets, but until this moment, the case had remained unsolved.
Parker had had enough. He got in his car, pulled behind the Infiniti to box it in and demanded his plants back. The men refused and threatened to ram his car, if that's what they had to do to escape with their botanic haul. Then they decided it'd be more effective to simply pull Parker from the car, rough him up a bit and move his car themselves.
So they did that. Parker, who could not be reached for comment, is apparently OK, and was able to call the police. Officers responded some time later, but have not yet tracked down the plant nappers.