A couple of years ago, when I was a fox on the run, I spent a lot of time hanging out on the grounds of a spooky-looking abandoned house and in a wooded sinkhole nearby.
Here's how the house looked back then:
Some of the neighbors who lived next to this great little fixer-upper thought I was hurting their property values by lying around in its side yard and up on the front porch. They loved to call Animal Control to come try to trap me and to tell Mike and Jeannie and the others who were feeding me in those days to cut it out. When the Animal Control officers couldn't catch me, they threatened my caretakers with fines for interfering with their work. One of them even wrote this note on the back of a business card and left it in my empty food dish:
The only thing that accomplished, of course, was to drive my feeding "underground" into the sinkhole.
(Editor's note: For the full story of my care and upkeep in those days, please refer to my very first blog post, which talks about the circle of friendly scofflaws who helped me. For more about life at the old house and the logistics of dining at "The Sinkhole Café," see this one.)
Today the house is still abandoned. And as you can tell from this picture M took a few days ago, it has managed to avoid becoming any classier--even without my presence:
There have of been some "improvements," I guess: The roof sports a snazzy hurricane tarp, though the winds have already torn some of it off. But what's that they say--half a tarp is better than none? Also the dangerously sagging balcony and all of the porch railings and supports have been removed. They now lie rotting on the lawn at the far right.
Something the picture doesn't show is that this lovely home was recently once again a crime scene. And this time the crime was a lot worse than "dog on the loose." Behold this item in the local section of last Thursday's Daytona Beach News-Journal:
It seems that four little desperadoes, at least three of them suspended from DeLand Middle School for unspecified misdeeds, decided to fill their time by knocking on doors of houses and, if no one answered, breaking in and robbing the place. At one home in north DeLand, their haul amounted to $3,000 in cash and over $17,000 worth of other items, including jewelry, a computer, green cards, collectible silver coins, a gold ingot, four pistols, a safe, and a 12-pack of beer. Volusia County sheriff's deputies managed to catch three of the thieves, but apparently not the fourth. Two of the boys arrested are also linked to burglaries at a nearby apartment complex. (To see the whole story, follow this link.)
Lest you jump to the conclusion that our abandoned house is the one that was robbed in the $20,000 heist, let me say right away that it was not. Believe me, every item of value has long since been ripped off from it. No, our abandoned house is where these apprentice Dillingers came to divvy up their loot--and to stash some of it!
Everyone in our neighborhood knows that the old house has been a magnet for squatters for years. (Including yours truly, except I just used the yard and the front porch.) Several days over the past few weeks we've noticed that the front door was open. On one of these occasions--I can't remember whether it was before or after last week's burglary--M and I saw a pair of sheriff's deputies investigating the place. I hate to admit it, but a couple of times on our walks, we would go up to the house and peek into the front window, then sit down on the porch and have a treat for old times' sake. I think the last time we did that was about two weeks ago. Crikey! We're lucky we didn't run into those sticky-fingered munchkins!
And that's the way it is. This is Buddy for K9TV, reporting from the crime scene. Back to you, Bob.
(I always wanted to say that. Hee hee.)
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