The gates, many crafted in the 19th century, are only worth $12 at scrapyards, but could net $500 or more from homeowners looking for vintage metalwork. Even a replacement, built by a modern craftsman, could cost hundreds of dollars.
The crime is so unusual that at least one incident occurred in broad daylight, and was witnessed by neighbors. "I looked at the van and I saw a lookout guy and I was curious," one resident told CBS, "but thought maybe the landlord asked them to fix them?”
The Times' The Local blog broke the story last week.