Community Impact: Why would they steal her bench?

“Community Impact” stories take a deeper look at an individual crime incident, to explore how crime can affect quality of life in our communities. If you would like to share your story, e-mail us at newsworks@whyy.org.

When Loretta Chaney entered her backyard on one recent Saturday morning, she immediately noticed something was wrong. Sitting limply on the ground was a piece of chain that – until sometime that night, she suspects – helped secure the back gate that encloses her yard.  The long-time East Mount Airy resident quickly scanned the area and soon saw that her white, plastic garden bench was gone. Everything else, she says, was untouched.

Chaney says whoever entered her property must have had a chain cutter because the lock she had placed around the chain was still attached to the left-behind links.  But she adds that person could have just as easily hopped the 5-foot gate instead.

Chaney, a self-described senior citizen, didn’t call the police right away, thinking the incident to be trivial in a neighborhood, she says, has been on the decline for some time.

“I’ve been here for 40 some years,” Chaney says. “There are drugs on the corner, girls on the other end of the block. It’s just terrible around here.”

Still, she says the robbery surprised her and left her feeling violated and hurt. No one had ever stolen from her before.

After the incident, Chaney purchased a thicker chain to safeguard her property. She says she doesn’t expect to see the bench again, but may replace it at some point.

“Maybe during the summer I will,” she says.

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