When Susan McKay moved into her Ormewood Park neighborhood about two years ago, she accepted that gentrification often came with a price: break-ins, vandalism, car thefts.
But two disturbing incidents within a three-day span last week—and the bizarre manner in which they are tied—has left her and others in the neighborhood off Moreland Avenue quite unsettled.
On Thursday, a homeowner on Emerson Avenue scared off two would-be burglars by firing his gun as they tried to break into his house in the middle of the day.
Two days later, a woman trying to retrieve her dogs from her backyard found the decomposing body of a teenager sprawled on a mulch pile.
About the same time, Debbie Matani went to get her dogs from the backyard of her home on Delaware Avenue, which is on the next street to the Emerson Avenue home.
There, in a part where the family rarely goes, Matani found the dead teen, his baggy pants gathered around his ankles.
A shaken Matani would not talk with reporters Sunday. She and her family were staying with relatives.
Susan McKay, the resident who moved in a couple of years ago, said there have been several daytime break-ins in recent weeks but nothing as serious as the incidents last week.
“It’s really frightened a lot of people around here,” said the real estate agent who lives across the street from Matani.
Sunday evening, residents walked their dogs or worked in their yards, stopping each other and catching them up on the police activities that pierced the quiet of their neighborhood last week.
They shook their heads and commiserated with each other. And then they moved on, each one resigned to one unsurprising tenet, said resident Brownlee Currey: “You expect this kind of thing when there’s gentrification.”