Big gaps have developed in the black metal fence bordering Salishan along Portland Avenue.
“Holy Cow!” motorists are saying. “That is brazen!”
“We’ve gotta catch these guys,” neighborhood crime fighters are telling their friends. “This is too much.”
Like a pack of Pavlov’s dogs, we are leaping at the conclusion we’ve been conditioned to reach. That reflex is a Tacoma Quirk.
We see big swaths of nothing where once there was metal, and we know what’s up: Metal thieves at work.
Metal thieves stole the Boy Scout statue from in front of the organization’s district headquarters.
Metal thieves stripped down the Murray Morgan Bridge, one of the most visible sights in T-Town.
Metal thieves pulled anything that can be melted from Swan Creek Park’s The Gathering Place, made of recycled historic copper and brass.
Metal thieves raided The Pagoda before a teen torched it.
Metal thieves peel brass plaques off any historic site they spy.
We have the experience to point us toward the nefarious.
But these guys, we think, they’re something else. How’d they get the sections of fence out of there? How’d they saw them off? Even in the middle of the night, someone on the busy road, in the nearby apartments, must have noticed.
And who would buy the fencing without proof that it wasn’t stolen?
We move on to our capture plan: Cameras. Surveillance pajama parties. Readerboard alerts.
We know the drill, and we are properly primed – unlike the missing fence.
Turns out it has not been stolen.
Had we been driving Portland Avenue at the right time during the right workday, we’d have seen legitimate crews removing sections of fence that had begun to rust.
The fence was still under warranty, said Tacoma Housing Authority Executive Director Michael Mirra. The agency is holding the manufacturer to its guarantee and has returned the defective product, saving us all money down the road.
That’s good news.
But we didn’t overreact. We would not have over-reacted if we’d called the law or THA if we’d seen the workers taking down the fence.
Some metal thieves have gotten smart, Mirra said. They dress in what look like official clothes and drive what look like official vehicles and take what they want when they want it.
Who knows? If we’ve got our Pavlovian Quirk primed, we might bring some of them to justice.
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