Burglar completes job begun by Isabel

Intruder took or ruined what the storm had not in a Dundalk house

December 20, 2003|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Floodwaters from Tropical Storm Isabel left Mera Scanlon's Dundalk home in ruins, but she was hopeful she and her fiance would be able to move back in by Christmas.

The painting was supposed to be finished by Monday. Carpeting was going to be installed Tuesday.

But yesterday, Scanlon walked into the house to discover that a burglar had destroyed or stolen what little the storm left behind.

"What wasn't lost in the flood, we've lost now," said Scanlon, a 31-year-old sales assistant at Morgan Stanley. "I don't understand why someone would do this to someone else. ... . I feel fortunate that it's just things, things that can be replaced.

"I know people lost their entire houses in the flood. But when something like this happens, it still hurts."

In addition to taking two DVD players and two stereo receivers, the burglar stole jewelry, including Scanlon's grandmother's wedding rings. The contents of drawers were dumped out, photograph frames were smashed and a mirror was shattered.

"They could've just taken the stuff. Why did they have to trash the place?" Scanlon said.

The contractor making repairs to their three-bedroom house discovered the burglary and vandalism yesterday morning. Construction tools were also stolen, according to police reports.

Baltimore County police put the loss at at least $5,000.

Scanlon and her fiance - Darin Barkley, a 33-year-old supermarket employee - and his two daughters are staying in a friend's rental home in Essex while the crews were redoing the first floor and replacing drywall and the floor.

Their house, about 100 feet from Bullneck Creek, was one of hundreds of homes in eastern Baltimore County damaged or destroyed in September by floodwaters from Isabel.

The couple's flood insurance covered the structure but not the damaged contents, which included bedroom and living room furniture, dining room chairs, and kitchen appliances that were submerged in nearly 2 feet of water, Scanlon said.

Instead of doing last-minute holiday shopping, the couple spent yesterday trying to take inventory of what was taken, cleaning up broken glass and waiting for police to take their reports and finish collecting evidence.

It appeared that the burglar had smashed a first-floor rear window to get into the house, according to police reports.

The community, which was particularly hard hit by Isabel, is a quiet neighborhood, police said.

"It's a nice little community," said Scanlon's mother, Marge Ahmer. "After Isabel, everyone was pitching in to help each other. They even had a big block party. Then, for someone to do something like this."

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