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Published: Thursday, 3/21/2002

Burglars impede house contractor

Houses under construction in central Toledo might welcome residents a little later than scheduled because burglars are breaking into them and stealing items, such as doors, carpets, window blinds, a hot water tank, and even a toilet.

The damage to the houses is becoming just as costly as the thefts from them.

The burglars “tear up more than they steal,” said Randy Sawyer, a superintendent for the Douglas Co., of Holland, which is building the two-story dwellings.

Five houses were broken into during the nighttime hours over several days last week. They are in the 1000 block of Buckingham Street, the 1200 block of Hamilton Street, and the 100 block of North Hawley Street. Losses are estimated at $1,250. Police said the amount of damage isn't known.

The burglars entered either by prying open a door or breaking the glass in a door or a window, according to police reports.

The houses are located about a mile away from others that were under construction last year and sustained about $20,000 in thefts or damage from burglaries.

Walter Ramsey of Toledo was accused in January of taking or damaging property in the break-ins last year. He is serving six months in the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio after being convicted of a misdemeanor charge of receiving stolen property in a case last year.

Since December, Mr. Sawyer said he has reported other break-ins at the unfinished houses in which appliances, such as refrigerators and stoves, have been taken.

The company has begun to take measures to secure the property, such as putting appliances in storage.

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