EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — Residents in multiple East Cleveland and neighborhoods on the East Side are filled with anger and frustration over thieves who have stolen the sandstone front steps off of dozens of classic homes.
Juanita Gowdy told News 5 she is surrounded by more than a dozen homes in her Rosalind Avenue neighborhood that have been victimized by the sandstone bandits in recent months.
Gowdy said the thefts are further destroying already distressed homes that could still be renovated and saved.
"This is very shocking for somebody to actually come here and steal steps, it's just awful, it's devastating," Gowdy said.
"I'm angry enough to know that whoever is doing this has to be somebody that knows what they're doing, because this is not an amateur."
Patricia Blochowiak has lived in the neighborhood since 2001 and reports neighbors have seen the thieves using heavy equipment to extract the sandstone steps in the middle of the day.
Residents said the crooks are even hitting homes that are occupied or are in the process of undergoing serious renovation.
"My other neighbor said she saw them driving down the street with a back hoe, with the steps on it," Blochowiak said.
"Then they come and do this, and they're doing it all over town, this has got to be a big business for somebody."
"The people who are buying the stolen steps are just as much as fault, as the people who are stealing them."
"This is seriously hurting our already dropping property values."
Residents told News 5 police have some leads in the case, but are urging anyone with information to contact the East Cleveland or Cleveland police.
Meanwhile Gowdy had one final statement for the sandstone thieves.
"My message to the person that is doing this to the city, you are going to get caught, sooner or later," Gowdy said.