NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- An area of New Haven that's known for its historic beauty is missing part of it.
Sections of cast iron fences have been disappearing all over Wooster Square and folks who live there suspect scrap metal thieves are the culprits.
History lesson: Wooster Square was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1971.
Bart and Sheryl Szczarba feel part of that history is disappearing piece, by piece, by piece.
"Pieces of the fences are disappearing, difficult to realize as you drive through," said Bart Szczarba of New Haven, "as you said, when you walk through daily, you say, 'Gee, I thought there was a fence here, now it's gone.'"
The sometimes artistic cast-iron fences help enhance someone's property, but apparently they are also tempting to thieves, who rip off a chunk here, steal a handrail there, most likely taking it to a scrap yard for quick cash.
"It's important because it's history, the history of New Haven," said Szczarba. "We don't want it going down the street to the junkyard."
Bart told News 8 that a home was going to have the fence renovated, but the whole fence was stolen.
There is another problem. Since this is a historic area, and overseen by the Historic Commission, if something is damaged or stolen and you want to have it replaced, you have to follow certain guidelines.
The dilemma is, if you want to replace something like this, it is not cheap.
"It's a very timely process, then it becomes an eyesore, we just don't want to lose our old fences," said Szczarba.
State law requires scarp yards to keep detailed records of transactions, but stolen scrap has been described as a nationwide problem.
Bart would like to see tougher laws on how scrap can be transported and tougher penalties on those that are caught.
Because, for Bart, isn't preservation of a city's past, worth more than a few bucks at a scrap yard?
"People are trying to tie it down with any means, bolt it down, but it's still, desperate acts," he said.
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