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2 Break-Ins Reported At Evacuated Homes On Collapsed 26th Street

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Ritchie Rochelle 175x131 L Rochelle Ritchie
Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Well, if they haven’t been through enough, residents displaced because of the 26th Street collapse are now dealing with burglars. One home was ransacked and another had its window and air conditioning units damaged.

Rochelle Ritchie spoke to the mayor, who is very upset with these crimes.

The mayor says she promised the residents their homes would be under the tight security from Baltimore City police. Now she is looking into what officers were doing at the time one of the homes was burglarized.

Homes on what is known as Pastel Row remain empty after the street in front of them came crashing down, taking everything but the houses with it.

“The whole street is collapsing,” one person said on a 911 call.

It’s been two weeks since witnesses stood helplessly as the retaining wall buckled, falling onto the CSX tracks.

Residents on 26th Street have been told it could be a month before they are allowed back into their homes. The empty houses unfortunately have become a crime of opportunity after one was broken into.

“Where was the police presence?” said Janet.

According to Baltimore City police, burglars broke into the back door of one of the homes and stole several items including a bracelet and computer; $1,200 worth of stolen property was taken.

The mayor is angry the residents have had to suffer more and has committed to better security.

“When this happened, it’s me not keeping that promise and I am not satisfied with that,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

The mayor says she has now added several security resources because of the recent break-ins. We haven’t seen any officers on 26th Street and St. Paul but police tape and a fence are now blocking the back of the homes.

“As disheartened as I am somebody would take advantage of the families in the situation, I am disappointed we weren’t able to stop them,” Rawlings-Blake said.

Those who work next door to the homes say they have been concerned the vacant homes would become a crime of opportunity.

“I think that’s horrible and I am glad the mayor said she’s going to crack down on that. That’s wonderful,” said Vinny.

The mayor says she will also look into what the officers on patrol were doing at the time of the break-in.

Thieves also damaged the air conditioning unit and window frame of another home they tried to break into.

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