Niagara Gazette

Columns

May 8, 2014

DELUCA: Elderly couple robbed of their past

Niagara Gazette — Tim Baxter is very upset about what happened to his neighbors on Pierce Avenue.

Baxter, who is the director at Oakwood Cemetery, lives in a quiet neighborhood just off Hyde Park Boulevard.

His neighbors, the Langevins, an elderly couple in their mid-80s, had been in Baltimore, spending the winter months with their daughter and her family. They returned home Monday to find their home stripped bare. 

While they were gone, someone systematically robbed the place of just about everything of value. It wasn’t just the TV and the VCR. The thieves stole their Barcalounger, the dining room table and hutch, the kitchen table, stove, dressers, and a basement freezer so heavy the couple had painted around it rather than move it. They even stole light bulbs. The house was mostly emptied except for a couple of beds, and items thrown from drawers. 

“We came into the house and we discovered that all their valuables were missing,” said the couple’s daughter, Cheryl Volpe. 

From the basement, thieves took her father’s power tools and her mother’s pizzelle maker and stew pot. The blanket box in the attic, made by a great-grandfather, was also stolen. The thieves tried to take the couch but apparently couldn’t get it out the back door so they left it in the middle of the small kitchen. Clearly someone wanted to avoid being seen carrying anything out the front door. Apparently, someone was removing large items from the house through the back door and, likely, down the alley. 

Baxter told me everybody watches out for each other on the block. But no one noticed anything unusual. 

“I’m just sick about this,” Baxter told me. “They’re such nice neighbors.”

Margaret Langevin was especially devastated. She had a mini-stroke the next day and had to be hospitalized at Mount St. Mary’s.

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