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Theft of Bricks Means Buildings Are Crumbling

Rob Powers was researching his architecture thesis in St. Louis, when he made a discovery: local landmark buildings weren't crumbling from age, but from brick theft.
June 4, 2009, 12pm PDT | Tim Halbur
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"In years of wandering about northern St. Louis, I've seen a sobering amount of devastation. Buildings rot, collapse, burn -- all hallmarks of neglect.

Not till recently did I realize that, in fact, many of those buildings are now under deliberate attack.

Brick harvesting is nothing new to St. Louis; pallets of brick are common on the site of decayed buildings undergoing demolition. They're shipped off to be used in new construction. But now, the practice has taken an ominous and illegal twist: the destruction of buildings soley for their brick.

The problem came to my prominent attention in May 2007, when brick thieves began destroying the last three buildings on my thesis site, the 1900 block of Montgomery Avenue in St. Louis Place."

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Published on Wednesday, June 3, 2009 in Built St. Louis
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