Home's alarm shrieks for 5 days

May 26, 1994|By Robert A. Erlandson | Robert A. Erlandson,Sun Staff Writer

The sound of silence -- that's all residents of a once-quiet Randallstown townhouse court crave. But when they'll get their wish is still up in the air -- literally.

The burglar alarm on a house whose owner is traveling in Indonesia has been whoop-whoop-whooping around the clock since last Saturday, and it's driving people nuts.

"It's gone off before, but only for twenty minutes or so, then it stops," said Joan Sheppard, one of the neighbors.

Ms. Sheppard said the man installed the burglar alarm himself, and she complained that it has annoyed her from time to time for the five years she has lived there -- but never for such a prolonged period.

This time was different. The alarm awakened her at 12:30 a.m. Saturday. A half-hour later, an accident on Liberty Road shut off power to the area and the alarm stopped briefly.

"I said, 'Thank God,' but then it came back and it hasn't shut up since," Ms. Sheppard said. "If we go in the back room and close everything in front, it's not as loud."

The owner left a message on his office answering machine that he would not return until Memorial Day. However, a friend said the man was notified of the problem and was air-freighting keys to another friend to shut off the alarm.

Some neighbors along the tree-shaded street have changed their bedrooms to escape the noise. Others are simply enduring the torment.

In any case, residents say the homeowner is in for a lot of grief when he returns. Some neighbors have detailed their grievances in a note taped to his storm door.

Baltimore County police say they have no authority to break into the house to silence the alarm, and BGE says it can't shut off power to the house because it might damage appliances.

Neighbor Betty Ridgeway said she put her bedroom fan on high and closed the windows to escape until Tuesday night, when it was so hot that she finally had to open the windows and try to ignore the noise.

She said the homeowner was thoughtless to go on an extended trip without leaving a key with a someone or a telephone number to call in case of trouble at the house.

Farther along the street, Eric Palmer said, "It really gets on people's nerves at night," when everything else is still.

"I go down to the cellar to get away from it because I have a front bedroom," said neighbor Pat Lee. "I keep a radio on as a distraction."

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