Intruder wreaks havoc on Frederick County home


December 30, 1993|By KATHY SUTPHIN

I've been waiting weeks for a lull in the southwest Carroll news for the opportunity to share the story of an unusual episode in the life on one member of our extended Sutphin family.

The setting for this dramatic event is the Frederick County home of my sister-in-law, Judy. Judy works as an office manager just five miles from her home. She returns home each weekday at noon for lunch and to visit her 75-pound mixed shepherd-huskie puppy, Scootch.

It is important to mention that my sister-in-law has decorated her home with beautiful antiques of all shapes and sizes. Judy's favorite pieces in her collection are porcelain dolls that she has displayed in a large glass curio cabinet in her living room.

Most dramas feature at least one villain, and this event in my sister-in-law's life is no exception. The name of the intruder in this event remains a mystery.

While Judy is not sure what time of the day in early November the villain entered her home, it was between 7:10 a.m. when she left for work and 12:15 p.m. when she returned for lunch.

The perpetrator gained entry to the house from the concrete patio in the back of the house. He rammed the eight-foot sliding glass doors of her bedroom, knocking the doors out of their wooden frames and causing the glass doors to fall, unbroken, into the bedroom where the surprised Scootch was snoozing. When the perpetrator charged in, the dog bolted out -- heading for safety in the nearby woods.

The villain returned to the patio, where he rammed a second set of eight-foot sliding glass doors -- also breaking them from the wooden frames and causing them to fall into the house. He entered the house for a second time and broke antique kerosene lamps, which ruined a new carpet.

Looking for trouble, he charged into the kitchen where he broke the shiny black-glass oven door. The perpetrator left a trail of filth and destruction throughout the house that ended in the back bedroom. There he worked himself into a frenzy by repeatedly charging a free-standing wicker mirror on hinges.

The intruder was in this back bedroom when Judy discovered him. She entered the house from the basement, missing evidence of the intruder's grand entrances but hearing the sound of the spinning mirror hitting the wall. She caught a glimpse of him in the back bedroom just before she ran for help.

It wasn't until she returned with a neighbor that she discovered the intruder was a furry, ivory-colored ram in rut.

The wayward animal, which was captured and detained by the helpful neighbor, did thousands of dollars of damage to Judy's home. The insurance company representative told my sister-in-law he had never seen anything like it.

Workers from the cleaning company, who did a good job of undoing the havoc wrecked by the escaped farm animal, told her the experience was a first for them.

The good news was that shades in the dining and living rooms -- drawn to prevent sunlight damage to the furniture -- prevented the ram from seeing his reflection in either the china closet or the curio cabinet where the prized dolls are displayed.

Although he left evidence that he had visited the two rooms, he did not charge either of the glass doors of the cabinets.

Scootch returned home late that afternoon -- glad to see that Judy had returned and the ram had taken his attitude and left.

House repairs still are being completed to erase the damage inflicted by the roving ram. As Judy and the rest of our family prepare to welcome in 1994, this incident is a reminder that worry is a wasted effort.

Most of the challenges we face are unique and unexpected -- like Judy's unwanted luncheon guest -- so we might as well enjoy each day as it unfolds. Happy New Year!


Members of Mount Airy's Flood Relief committee have a New Year's resolution to keep helping residents of Alexandria, Mo., in The committee, which has helped to raise $42,146.74 for the flooded town as of Dec. 29, is regrouping after its successful Christmas mission.

Suzanne Mead said a bounty of Christmas gifts was provided to a total of 247 families living in or near Alexandria -- 46 more families than the original goal. Donations of extra presents during the local drive made this feat possible, so no one was disappointed, she said.

The committee is committed to sending the Missouri town $1,000 each week. "We will keep going as long as we can," Mrs. Mead said.

Plans to send donations of clothing and furniture have been canceled because there's an overabundance of those items donated from the Missouri area and a shortage of storage space, Mrs. Mead said.

"The only thing that we need to concentrate on is the money," she said. "The money is making a real difference."

Building supplies are less expensive in Missouri and are being sold to flood victims at cost, Mrs. Mead said. She added that the residents are dependent on the cash donations: "It might be the difference between getting back into their houses or just having to leave."

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