Vandals repeatedly ransack Grand Rapids woman’s property

Posted at 5:35 PM, Aug 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-03 17:35:19-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Marilyn Townsend has a big problem on her hands that she can't seem to get rid of. Someone keeps vandalizing the property she's trying to reconstruct on Worden Street in Grand Rapids.

"My goal initially when purchasing the property was to open an adult foster home, and these are people who normally can't live on their own. So they need to be safe,” Townsend exclaimed.

She said, "It's very disheartening because I purchased this house to give back to the community, trying to fix this up so I can help out.”

"My work seems to be in vain," Townsend added.

The home is vacant. To get it livable again, she hired Todd Wolf to do some work. However, all he's been able to do lately is board up windows.

"As you can see, they kicked the side door. We had to board that up. They bust her windows out," Wolf pointed out.

They said the homes been hit four times in the past month. There’s a city alley that connects to her backyard with no gate which they say doesn’t help the situation. Townsend said she's paid anywhere from $200 to $300 to board up windows and clean up some of the mess.

Before this all started, Townsend said her son went to the house to mow the lawn and caught people inside smoking and drinking. He kicked them out, but vandals soon took their place.

"This is where they came in and pulled the drop ceiling that was here. They came in and pulled all that down," she pointed out in one of the bedrooms.

Thermometers and smoke detectors are ripped off the walls, windows are broken, vandals busted up a bathroom, and trash is everywhere. It's obvious someone's been sleeping in the garage. Townsend pointed out that there are also at least three bullet holes in the home now.

"I called the police, and they were supposed to be patrolling the area, extra patrols. I haven't seen any evidence of that, but they said they would. I did report the incidents to the police," Townsend explained.

So Wolf called the FOX 17 Problem Solvers on her behalf to get help stopping the person or people responsible.

"What I would like to see happen, is whoever's doing it to stop. The more money I pour into trying to get it fixed is getting tore back down. So I would like it to stop and whoever's doing it, help take care of your neighborhood,” Townsend said.

Sergeant Terry Dixon with the Grand Rapids Police Department told the Problem Solvers Townsend can sign what's called a "No trespass letter" and post it on her home. He said police will then make an immediate arrest if they find someone inside who doesn't belong. We've put her in touch with Dixon who said a community policing officer will work with her to discuss other possible strategies.