Decorative fencing stolen from Mount Royal roof Wrought ironwork dated from building of home

"I saw they just snapped it off. Nobody stole this in 112, 114 years." Paul Hartzell

July 17, 1998|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

For the second summer in a row, antiques thefts have vexed the 1900 block of Mount Royal Terrace -- a city street of Victorian-vintage painted brick houses built in 1884.

Paul Hartzell climbed his roof last week looking for squirrel nests, only to discover that the original wrought ironwork decorating the top of his three-story house was gone.

"I saw they just snapped it off. Nobody stole this in 112, 114 years," said Hartzell, 57, a Department of Natural Resources engineer who has lived in his home -- complete with gas lamps, servant call bells and stained-glass windows -- for 26 years.

All that remains of his decorative ironwork, known as "snow-fencing," which is typical of that period, are fragments he hopes will help him locate the rest.

Police said they are investigating the theft, which they believe occurred during the day by a thief or thieves climbing a fire escape in an alley behind the row of 18 houses. Police did not release an estimate of the ironwork's value.

Officer Jim Eigner said that ironwork had also been stolen from two other houses on the terrace.

Hartzell said the loss was particularly hard because at this time last year two cast-iron urns were stolen from each side of a JTC statue across the street in a public area.

"I don't know if it's the same guy coming back as an anniversary prank," he said.

L The urns, which were city property, have not been recovered.

Hartzell said he was concerned about a repeat visit by thieves hoping to sell an increasingly rare item in pawnshops or on the antiques market. He estimates the stolen ironwork is worth at least $1,000.

Pub Date: 7/17/98

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