Residents bored, angry while media form camp

Without much going on, the afternoon hours drag

Standoff Off In Dundalk

March 21, 2000|By Rob Hiassen | Rob Hiassen,SUN STAFF

Joseph C. Palczynski's breakfast order yesterday of French toast and sausage sent Wayne Kucz over the edge -- or rather over the fence.

Kucz fashioned a bag containing cough syrup, eggs and orange juice. He entered a back alley and lofted the bag across the fence toward the home of his 64-year-old mother, Lillian Kucz.

On police orders, Kucz's mother, sister, niece and great niece have been confined to their Dundalk rowhouse, as law enforcement officials remained stationed near the Lange Street home where Palczynski has held three hostages since Friday.

Given that Palczynski had requested and received French toast and sausage, Kucz said he had no qualms about delivering eggs and juice to his mom -- despite police orders to stay away from the cordoned-off area.

"What are they going to do?" Kucz said. "They're feeding him."

To advertise his frustration, Kucz posted homemade signs on his Ford truck -- one said "Give us our families back" -- which he parked at the Eastpoint Office Park, where the media have been stationed.

"I'm just mad," Kucz said. He has spoken to his mother on the phone throughout the ordeal. Kucz said she was bored and felt claustrophobic.

It's like a ghost town around here, she told her son. Nothing to do but sit around and watch TV news and more TV news.

"It's making everybody crazy," Kucz said.

Media cluster

The media were driving some people crazy yesterday -- the same people who had walked over to the office park to see the spectacle that is 14 television tripods; half as many newspaper camera tripods; six television satellite towers; a mile of red, yellow and black cables; enough cell phones to accommodate enough ears; water bottles on their sides; make-up mirrors; emptied and collapsed doughnut cartons; and newspaper pages on the ground, opened to the NCAA coverage.

"If they cut the media, he'd come out," said a woman who refused to be named. "You guys are making a hero out of him. He's feeding off it."

That is, he's feeding off the media's methods, she said. Too much coverage, too much hype, too insensitive.

"You know what you guys do."

False alarm

In the sluggish afternoon hours yesterday, noises that sounded like shots were heard very close to the media's encampment.

But the sounds were coming from the opposite direction of the rowhouse under siege.

Heads snapped around.

"Just a car backfiring, everybody," a man said.

Nervous laughter all around.

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