Rob a Do-Gooder? No Big Deal in '90S

Article excerpt

ONE VERY DISTRESSING SIGN of the times is this: It is not automatically newsworthy any more when a do-good organization gets ripped off.

It used to be, you know. Editors, who love irony the way headline writers love puns, would get all excited if an organization that provided services to the poor got burglarized.

No more. Just as the cops won't even send an officer to your house if your car gets stolen - what's the big deal? - the newspaper no longer automatically covers crimes against do-gooders.

Occasionally, if it's a slow day, a reporter will get assigned to such a story. That's why you might have seen the story last Saturday of a food pantry that had been burglarized. It was a fine, old-fashioned story.

But mostly, these things get ignored.

So let me tell you about a couple of recent incidents that would have been "news" in the good old days.

The most recent one occurred on the night of May 18. A fellow broke a window to gain entry into the Crusaders 4-H Club on Louisiana Avenue. He stole an electric typewriter and an answering machine.

Oddly enough, the club had been burglarized less than 48 hours earlier, and the thief got a computer, a microwave, a color television and an electric guitar. What's more, it was the same burglar. We know that from the fingerprints. And in that first incident, he had gained entry by breaking a window.

Lest you think, however, that this is one clever criminal - after all, he was repeating a method that had worked once - let me assure you that our burglar is anything but clever. After stealing the electric typewriter, he knocked on the door of a nearby residence at approximately midnight, and asked the startled resident if she would be interested in purchasing a used typewriter.

Furthermore, other residents in the neighborhood had seen him wandering around carrying stuff, including a guitar, in the early morning hours two days earlier, which, as it turns out, was just after the first break-in.

Based on the fingerprints and the eyewitness accounts, police are looking for a suspect. The fellow they are looking for has no home address, but he periodically washes onto the shores of justice.

Meanwhile, the Crusaders 4-H Club carries on.

It is not a big or fancy place. It's just a double-wide storefront in the 3300 block of Louisiana. On weekdays, it gives the neighborhood kids a place to go after school, and it has a more structured program on Saturdays. …