Thieves Will Steal Anything. But a Whole City Street?

Yes, a couple of Philadelphia cons did indeed make off with one block of a city street in 1984. The Philadelphia Inquirer tells the tale of the miscreants who made off with Mifflin Street

Truckers and policemen drove by and nodded, assuming that the guys digging up grey-stoned Mifflin Street with a front-end loader were municipal workers.

A nearby shop owner thought the same. But as he watched them work, he developed an uneasy feeling, and then couldn’t shake a troubling thought: Why were these men being so cautious with the stones, yet so reckless with the earth below them?

So he walked over and asked.

Joseph Monkiewicz, an excavator from Montgomery County, told the shop owner that he and his employees were tearing up the old surface so they could lay down a new one.

The shop owner surveyed the damage and returned to his office, suspicious and puzzled.

Seriously, who steals a street?

Monkiewicz, who was no stranger to handcuffs, did. With the help of an associate named Propper, who had even more, and more serious, priors, but who beat this rap in court. Read the Whole Thing™. If you get paywalled out, the attached .pdf is from the paper’s story from 1984.


The current story is part of a series of entertaining dives into the paper’s morgue that run from time to time.

3 thoughts on “Thieves Will Steal Anything. But a Whole City Street?

  1. Loren

    Monkiewicz failed to carry a clip board. You can do anything with a clip board. A frown helps too (Seinfeld).

  2. Mike_C

    Supposedly thieves stole a huge (yuuuge) oriental rug from a main building lobby at the Columbia University Medical Center (NYFC) in the middle of the day. Men in work clothes came in, moved furniture, lots of furniture, politely guided employees and visitors out of the way, rolled up the rug, put it in the truck, and drove off. Not a word was said, every witness questioned afterwards had assumed the men had been hired to take the rug away for cleaning. Nope, brazen thieves.

    Or so the story goes (can’t find it on a lazy ‘net search), but I believe it. I’ve personally walked the entire shell of an MRI scanner out of the hospital, middle of the afternoon past multiple guards (plus several admin-type hospital suits) without a single question. No, not the machine itself (which weighs literally tons), just the fiberglass panels that conceal all the components, but we’re talking multiple 8-foot panels, and an “entry cone” (the cover bore into which the patient goes) the size of a dining table for four people. (Cue “One Piece at a Time”, Johnny Cash)

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