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Monday, August 18, 2008

Brick Theft Suspect Charged With Felony

This morning was a momentous event in efforts to crack down on the plague of brick theft that has hit the north St. Louis neighborhoods of St. Louis Place, JeffVanderLou and the Ville. This morning Judge Cale Stovall-Reid held a preliminary hearing in the case of the City of St. Louis vs. Samuel K. Ivory.

Ivory, known as a demolition crew worker, faces the misdemeanor charge of Theft/Stealing (Value Of Property Or Services Is Less Than $500) and, most important, a felony charge of Property Damage 1st Degree. Judge Stovall-Reid has also ordered Ivory confined to the city of St. Louis pending trial. Earlier this year, police from the Fifth District arrested Ivory at the scene of 2569 Montgomery Street, where allegedly Ivory and others were taking down a house owned by one of Paul McKee's holding companies. The house has since been demolished due to its destabilization by brick thieves (see "Cut Off, Cut Down", July 25).

North side residents have been demanding justice against the brick thieves for the last two years. That justice may be coming, at least to one of the perpetrators.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see if this story gets covered in the mainstream media.

If not, why not?

Chris said...

Because if it doesn't bleed, it doesn't lead--especially when it's the North Side.

Doug Duckworth said...

A worker? What about the dealers and the distribution networks. Get those that take the bricks to New Orleans. Yeah, this is like jailing street level drug dealers. How about we provide them a job alternative first? The last thing I want to see is some draconian three strikes law punishment when the problem is job creation and reinvestment.

If rustling is to be addressed then we must go after those with the capital and resources who fuel this illegal operation, not those that put themselves at risk so they can afford McDonald's and a Tall Boy. These people, like the buildings, are victims serving an entire system. Unless there is a multi-layered solution which attacks distributors, while provides job alternatives, we'll simply be putting more African Americans in jail, thereby ironically maybe saving some buildings but also eroding the community.

To save both requires political will and capacity which I believe left this City and State long ago.

Doug Duckworth said...

Moreover we must have political leadership which frames our historic, economic assets as such. Through historic tax credits they are not only intrinsically valuable beyond their export value, but they serve as a medium for community revitalization. The Black Middle class surely would move back with proper incentive.

Issue framing, the political science term for molding public opinion, must be used effectively by civic leaders in a manner which changes apathy to belief in a brighter outcome. A window of opportunity exists but many must agree on how it should be opened.

Chris said...

Doug,

I agree with everything you said, with one exception. Brick thieves are NOT victims; if you had been with me the day those assholes chased me because I had the audacity to drive by them in the process of committing brick theft, you would not be so sympathetic. Are all brick thieves thugs willing to resort to violence to protect their "haul?" Of course not, but a lot of them are just straight up thugs who would probably just be doing something else illegal if brick theft wasn't profitable.

Anonymous said...

The white upper middle class demographic of most bloggers has a hard time understanding how many African-American, long-time residents of poor, crumbling, inner city neighborhoods don't give a rat's ass about old buildings. To them, they represent years of white oppression against the black community.

They are often very happy to see them replaced with shiny, new vinyl sided houses, the same kind white people buy in St. Charles. Throw a new Walgreens or strip center in the mix, and it's all good.

Wait around for historic rehab? Pssshaw. They've heard all that before.

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Maybe the very reason their neighborhoods are run down is because of that very reason: "they don't give a rat's ass."

Sheila R said...

Actually there are people in the inner city that do care. The perception is false. My family home is in the 5th ward which is north side inner city. We appreciate the history of our neighborhood. Its relation to Downtown. We understand that some neighborhoods in St Louis did not even exist when our homes were turning 100. It is not the idea that "African-American inner city neighborhoods do not give a "rat's ass." It's that the brick thieves are being paid to destroy our neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are home to Blacks, Whites, Hispanics and a Bi/Tri racial mix of other races. What makes you think they are even city residents? I can tell you none of them live on my street (Mullanphy).

Are there any other defendants? Has a trail date been set?


Sheila Rendon
Neighbors for Social Justice
NeighborsforSJ@aol.com

samizdat said...

People make choices, Doug. Some people, even in the best of circumstances, make the wrong choices. These guys knew what they were doing was wrong, knew it was illegal, and yet they continued to CHOOSE to break the law and steal a piece of the neighborhood. Bad choices often have consequences. I believe you are correct about the bigger fish receiving nothing for their crimes, but that seems to be a disgusting trend in American society which has accelerated over, oh, I don't know, the last say, seven or eight years maybe? Woody Guthrie said, or rather it sang, it well: "Yes, it's through this world I've wandered/I've seen lot's of funny men/some will rob you with a six-gun/and some with a fountain pen". Guess which device Mr. Mckee is holding.

Doug Duckworth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doug Duckworth said...

"They are often very happy to see them replaced with shiny, new vinyl sided houses, the same kind white people buy in St. Charles. Throw a new Walgreens or strip center in the mix, and it's all good."

Which are built by white people and not owned or manged by AFRICAN AMERICANS. They are destroying their unique assets which could be used to support their own autonomous community. In exchange, by in large, they fund white developers and white entrepreneurs.

I understand why they're pissed off, but their solution is illogical. If they want to get back at the white racist hegemony then rebuild the Ville, and areas like J-V-L and make them bedrock of St. Louis' African American business class. You say we don't have such an area? We could. In many areas the infrastructure remains!

Anonymous said...

"Which are built by white people and not owned or manged by AFRICAN AMERICANS. They are destroying their unique assets which could be used to support their own autonomous community. In exchange, by in large, they fund white developers and white entrepreneurs."

Wrong. There are many black builders in St. Louis: the Roberts Brothers, Sharon Robnett, Mary One, and Ken Hutchison to name just a few. The homes being built for sale are almost all being bought by black people. Duckworth, you're way off on your facts.

Doug Duckworth said...

And who's designs do they copy?

Anonymous said...

Doug,

You're really gonna have to explain that last question. Whose designs do they copy? Maybe the American way of trying to make a living.

Do you expect African Americans to design something "African American". If so, what would that look like.

You're always talking about preservation of existing buildings in poor black neighborhoods. Those buildings were almost all built by white people, heavily German.

I remember my German immigrant grandmother. She wanted nothing to do with black people. Can you blame some black people if they want nothing to do with the buildings her generation built and want something new instead?

Anonymous said...

Are you trying to tell me that your grandma's dislike of black people can be compared to brick rustling? Your grandma was a rasict. Brick rustlers are thieves. There is a difference. Your grandma wanting to have nothing to do with us is ignorance that can be reversed with her children's or grandchildren's views. Brick rustlers should be prosecuted. Racism is silent and runs very deep. Stealing brick is a very shallow disregard of neighborhoods. Try again.