The bandits who are slowly dismantling north St. Louis -- brick by brick -- are becoming more daring these days.
Architectural historian Michael Allen, who has perhaps written more than anyone on the subject of brick thievery, notes on his blog
that the mason rustlers are now working heavily trafficked streets north of Delmar Boulevard.
"Brick thieves apparently have carte blanche to harvest building stock on the north side's busiest streets," writes Allen, who reports that two abandoned properties on Page and St. Louis avenues have recently been targeted.
"Between these two buildings, the city has lost four housing units that could have been rehabilitated. Extend that count across every building hit by brick theft in the last seven years, and we have lost at least 200 housing units," adds Allen.
City officials have tried in vain to enforce tougher measures
for dealing with the theft of old bricks that are coveted by developers for their weathered look.