The Victim: Erik TostenThe Crime: TheftDate: Monday, April 13Time: 5 p.m.Location: 2500 block of Burlington
First a shooting, now a theft.
Erik Tosten was working on his gutters in the area behind his backyard, which he calls his “second backyard”.
“It’s where I have my garden because it gets the most sun,” Tosten says of the area.
The area is hidden from the street, and he often leaves his gardening tools there to use later. He finished his work, but forgot his ladder. The ladder was visible from the street, and thieves spotted it.
“My neighbor called me and said someone was in my garden stealing my ladders,” he says. “I just forgot the ladder was back there for two days.”
The thieves were described as a teenage boy and girl. They also stole his gardening tools. The loss wasn’t great, Tosten says, but “still pricy.” This was not the first crime at his home. In four years, he has had a car broken into and stereo stolen, and a friend’s car also was burglarized.
But one crime really sticks in his mind. Tosten, an art professor at the University of Texas-Arlington, was out of town a year ago, and a friend came to mow his lawn around 10 a.m.
“He said he was mowing, and two kids rolled up and shot him in the arm,” Tosten says.
His friend got in his car and chased after the assailants. As he approached their vehicle, his car collided with another car, and the shooters got away.
“He’s OK now, but he’s still got a bullet wound in his arm,” Tosten says.
Three weeks later, someone was stabbed at a nearby home.
“I still love the neighborhood, and I want to stay there,” he says. “I love Oak Cliff.”
Lt. Bill Humphrey of the Dallas police’s property crimes unit says gardening tools are easy and popular targets.
“Generally all tools should be stored and secured in a garage or backyard shed,” he says. “Thieves prefer items they can get rid of quickly, and because gardening has become increasingly popular, they are attracted to gardening tools because they’re easy to sell.”