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December 22, 1997

Opinion

What happened to respect for other people's property?

  My wife and I own a tract of property in the City of Duvall. What we have experienced at that location over the past four years indicates that neither adults nor children have any respect for the property of others. In this short time, we have suffered considerable theft and property damage, and there is no excuse for it.
  
   We have had over four cords of split and stacked firewood taken from beside the driveway, over 100 feet from the road. Gates have been broken and 'No Trespassing' signs are torn down almost as fast as we can replace them. An antique truck, parked 40-feet from the road, which was to be a restoration project, is only good for parts now. Vandals broke every window, mirrors and gauges and tore up the interior. A storage shed has been broken into so many times that we have lost count. Pumps and other items in it have been stolen, and now it has been damaged so badly I have no other choice but to tear it down. Framed windows, which were to be used in another project, were broken while neatly stacked near where the wood was stolen.
  
   People ignore the fact that it is someone else's property and dump their yard waste on our property. Trees and limbs are cut down so that motorcycles can use our place as a motor-cross track, completely ruining the grass we planted and cared for. I made the mistake of parking my large tractor in the driveway, 10-feet off the pavement and under a street light in this residential neighborhood. Because of a toy truck left nearby, I can only assume it was your unsupervised children who broke every light, damaged accessories and put dirt into the hydraulic system, doing almost $4,000 damage in a three day period.
  
   The Duvall police do not seem able to watch the neighborhood very well, and I assume you responsible citizens do not care, as long as it is someone else who has to suffer the losses. The only thing that has kept me from setting booby-traps to mar the culprit(s) is the civil and criminal liability I would face. Do not expect any mercy if you or yours are caught on the property. I will prosecute to the full extent of the law and will also sue for damages the person(s) and/or parents for any related damages. It's a sad state of affairs when society allows and accepts criminal acts such as we have suffered, and neighbors turn a blind eye.
   Michael J. Samoville,
   Duvall