Ann Arbor Observer cover
Send YCS Students to DC
Ann Arbor Weather:
Monday October 14, 2019
Follow us: facebook twitter RSS feed

East Side Story

Copper thieves hit Buckingham Road

by David Erik Nelson

Published in December, 2008

On the evening of October 13, residents on Buckingham Road smelled gas.

As a DTE technician fruitlessly wandered the neighborhood with a flashlight and digital detector, neighbors recalled that one house, which had sat vacant since the owner's death, had an unfinished renovation. They discovered that a twenty-foot length of copper gas line had been carefully unscrewed from its junction at the side of the renovated garage and then roughly snapped off where it peeked out from beneath the half-finished carport. Natural gas blew freely from the ragged stub of pipe.

The home's owner, Mike Johnston, was killed this past March. A tow-truck driver, Johnston was pulling a drunk driver out of a ditch when a second drunk sped past flares and police and slammed into him, killing him instantly.

Johnston's neighbors let themselves into his tidy brick bungalow, where the DTE man finally found the meter in the back of a closet, cranked it shut, and sealed it with a brass lock. Meanwhile someone found a copy of Johnston's obituary and was able to contact his sister. She explained that the house was still stuck in probate. Although no payments had been made on the mortgage since March, Countrywide Home Loans had yet to make a claim. Three days later a sketchy pair of contractors arrived to drill out the front locks and replace them with a padlock.

Asked whether their arrival meant the property was in foreclosure, a contractor shrugged: "Well, when it's in foreclosure-foreclosure, they have us come through and change all the locks."     (end of article)

[Originally published in December, 2008.]

 



 
Bookmark and Share
Print Comment E-mail

You might also like:

Health Emergencies
The Relief at the Washtenaw County Courthouse
September 2019 I Spy
Sally Bjork
CameraMall, Name Brand Tattoo, and more
August 2019 I Spy
Sally Bjork
Restaurants with prices $10 To $20
A clickable zoomable map
Fixing the Damn Roads
It's been a challenge for the county road commission since 1919. The problem has always been money.
Grace Shackman
Reeds & Steel
Easygoing and unbothered
Hannah Levinsohn
Ronald McDonald House
Helping families with sick kids stay close
Anita LeBlanc
Government in Dexter
Project Mow
Landscaping by sheep, from Dawn Farm
Kati Shanks
Nightspots: Bel-Mark Lanes
Semi e news
First Church of Christian Science event
Vicki's Wash and Wear Haircuts