The temperatures may have topped 100 degrees for most of the month of July, but that didn't keep local fire and police departments indoors. They were out doing what they do, despite the extreme heat.
July began with fears that home fireworks displays would start fires because of the dry conditions during the summer heat wave and drought conditions. The advised residents that fireworks were illegal in the county, warning that scofflaws would be issued summonses. The warning apparently took hold as Fenton police officials noted a decline in firworks call during the 2012 July 4 holiday.
Even in Jefferson County neighborhoods, where fireworks are legal to use, there was a noticeable dearth of home displays as residents apparently heeded fthe fire danger warnings.
Fireworks aside, there was plenty of mischief and mayhem in July that local police and fire departments attended to. Here are some highlights:
In the Adding-Insult-to-Injury Department
Air conditioners are a frequently stolen item as thieves hope to sell the scrap copper and other metal. But it must have been particularly galling to victimized homeowners who not only had to suffer the expense of replacing the equipment, but were forced to sweat it out during the extreme heat until a new unit could be installed.
- An exterior air conditioning unit was stolen sometime between July 23-26 from a home on High Ridge Heights, High Ridge. the homeowner said the unit was stolen after the outside connecting lines were cut. The home was vacant as it is up for sale. The value of the air conditioning unit was set at $1,500.
- Two 3-ton air conditioning units were stolen from a business on Northwest Boulevard sometime between June 15 and July 9. The units were valued at $2,500 each. The victim told a sheriff's deputy that someone cut the lines and wires to the outside air conditioning units and removed them. No items of evidence were located at the scene.
- A Heil home air conditioner was stolen from a home on Antire Road in High Ridge. It was valued at $600. The homeowner told a sheriff's deputy that all of the wires and tubing leading to the outside unit had been cut and the unit stolen sometime overnight between June 26 and 27. A fingerprint was lifted from a gray electrical box next to the unit. A canvass of the neighborhood turned up no other evidence.
- Someone stole a Lennox central air conditioning unit June 27 from the back of a home on West Rock Creek Road, High Ridge. The unit was valued at $8,000. After a call from the homeowner, a sheriff's deputy responded and observed a circuit breaker system lying on the ground near the location of the missing air conditioner. It was seized as evidence.
Peeping Tom Catches Himself on Camera
One of the more eye-opening stories of the month was about the guy who was trying to get video of women using the restroom at a grocery store. He ended up getting caught because there were photos of himself on the recording device.
The Big Blast
The big story of the month on the fire beat was the massive explosion of a house on Palatine Court in Fenton. The blast could be heard all over the neighborhood. Pieces of the home were scattered far and wide.
It was quite a sight to see. Here's the story and photos from one of the most dramatic fires in recent memory: "It Woke up the Whole Neighborhood"
Maybe the July heat was causing the forgetfulness of many residents, who routinely leave their vehicles unlocked, but it's doubtful. Unlocked cars are easy prey for thieves and it happens in all kinds of weather.
One of the more eye-opening cases in July was this one one:
- A man who was visiting his father July 6 at a home directly behind his own on Kohnen Drive, Fenton, discovered later that $16,000 cash, which were deposits from his businesses, had been stolen from his unlocked vehicle. An iPad also was stolen which was valued at $729.99. Sheriff's deputies were unable to locate any witness or any fingerprints from the vehicle.