A city police posse continued to search today for two modern-day rustlers who stole 11 aluminum storm windows from the back yard of a north Baltimore home and made a clean getaway in a horse-drawn junk wagon.
"That's pretty unusual," admitted Agent Arlene Jenkins, a city police spokeswoman.
She said two men rode the junk wagon down an alley behind the 500 block of E. 29th St. about 1:30 p.m. yesterday, spied the 11 windows in a back yard, loaded them on the wagon and took off.
The homeowner and victim of the theft, Earnest L. Williams, 43, a truck driver, said he had gone to a market near his home to buy bread only a few minutes earlier.
As he left the market, he said, he spotted the two men taking his windows and leaving in the junk wagon pulled by a single getaway horse.
Williams said the men rode north in the 2900 block of Greenmount Ave. while he frantically tried to flag down a taxicab. He said it took him several minutes to finally get one.
Once in the cab, Williams cruised the neighborhood for nearly 30 minutes trying to find the thieves, but to no avail. At one point, Williams had the wagon in sight but lost it.
"I spent $6 for a cab," he lamented.
Williams, who valued the windows at $1,200 to $1,500, told police he had placed the windows in his back yard about a month ago after putting in new ones. He planned to sell the old windows.
"I didn't have a chance to put them in storage," he said.
"I don't see why they would do that," he continued. "I think they might break them up and sell the aluminum."
Williams said he bought the missing windows two years ago.
Officer Larry Shermbeck, of the Northern District, said the drivers of horse-pulled junk wagons can move pretty fast down side streets.
Shermbeck said the stealing of metal products to sell to junk dealers is a common practice, although the use of a horse-drawn wagon was a new wrinkle.
"People steal guttering, aluminum siding, copper tubing and any other kind of metal just to sell for a few dollars at a junk dealer," Shermbeck said.
Williams described the thieves as about 5 feet tall and weighing 110 to 135 pounds. Both were wearing gray overalls.
He told police the green wagon already had trash and aluminum cans aboard when the men stole his windows.
"I never saw anything like it," he said.