U.S. housing crisis: Neighbours organize ‘flash mobs’ to stop thieves from stripping empty homes
DETROIT— To anyone driving by, the historic Van Dyke Place mansion looked like it was finally getting a facelift.
A couple of contractors were perched on scaffolding outside the long-abandoned landmark. A forklift operator was hauling blocks of limestone out a gaping hole in the second storey.
But by the time neighbours starting getting home from work, the construction crew had stacked dozens of trophies on the mansion’s driveway — century-old stone balusters, fireplace mantles, even the balcony that had been hanging over the front door that morning.
That set off alarm bells and sent a rallying cry across The Villages neighbourhood via phone and text message: “Van Dyke Place is being stripped.”