Watch out for thieves.

TITLE:  Stealing Stone Walls: Hot Rocks: Stone Walls Disappear Across the Region; State Police Arrest Waterford man:

PUBLICATION: Sunday Feature in the New London Day by By David Collins, (Staff Columnist) October 31, 2004

QUOTES: With permission of the author and the New London Day. For the whole article, use an electronic article, searching for date and key words.

Story Lead:

“When a neighbor first alerted Thomas LaFollette that someone might be stealing rock from the stone walls on his 90-acre property in Sterling, he shrugged it off, thinking it was probably “just a couple of stones.” Instead, he learned, after visiting the abandoned farm where he and his wife, Toni-Marie, once envisioned building a home, entire walls were demolished. All that remained was rubble, random stones left behind after the best ones were removed. All around were the signs of the trespass, trees knocked over, ruts left behind by heavy equipment. The Lafollettes say they have estimates that it could cost $100,000 or more to repair the damage and replace the 1,900 feet of walls that were taken. They are not alone as victims of such theft in Connecticut, where the disappearance of walls appears to shadow a growing demand for old stone with character, colored by years in the elements or covered with lichen or moss. One authority on historic walls calls the disturbing trend stone “rustling,” an assault on the state’s rural heritage.”


Criminal Charges:

“The person acccused of taking the LaFollettes’s stone, arrested on a first-degree larceny charge, is …. a 43-yearold-former pizza resturant manager from Waterford who went into the stone business in the summer of 2001, after filing for bankruptcy, according to his probation officer.”

“Hoffa, who has a substantial criminal record…..”

then follows many paragraphs of allegations from several others in several towns….

End of Story, Quoting Thorson of the SWI:

“Robert M. Thorson, a professor of geology at the University of Connecticut and the author of “Stone by Stone….said that a lot of stone walls are certainly being stolen or “rustled, sometimes under the cover of darkness and off public property. “Slowly the landscape is being unraveled as people swipe these walls,” he said. “The guy who steals old stone walls is committing two sins. Number one, it’s like taking an old piece of antique furniture, just for the wood. The second thing he is doing is violating private property by stealing something.”

“But Thorson is also worried not just about the theft of stone, but also the legitimate sale of walls by property owners. ‘It’s like the drug trade. What is the hidden cost in this stone?’ he said, ‘I don’t want to begrudge someone’s stone, but let’s not build a Coliseum in Greenwich out of stones from acres of fields in Ashsford’.”