Historic robbery

Hartford Group,

One of Hartford’s most historic homes recently had a very damaging robbery and the NYS Police needs your help.

It is #7684 State Route 40. The old Louisa King home. Louisa King was a famous horticulturalist and very good friends with Henry Ford. The home later became the home of Dr. Clary. It is the white brick house at the top of the hill as you exit South Hartford, it is just down hill and across the street from the Wayne and Betsy Foote farm.

The entire copper roof on the backside of the house was stolen right around June 1st. The tar paper has been torn away and the roof underlayment is no match for all the rain we have had since then. I was at the property yesterday peering into the windows and large sections of plaster roof are now falling down and there is a heavy odor of mildew in the air.

This property has been in foreclosure status since 2010 with PNC Bank.

I contacted the property management company who has a sticker on the door and
was told that the bank solicited bids from contractors to cover the roof on June 8th but have not yet awarded the bid. That was 10 days and many inches of rain ago.

The County Clerk told me that the owner of record is Wanda Valenzuela and Benjamin Waring. They will be the owner of record until such time as the bank foreclosure is completed.

But when an owner walks away from a home and the bank enters foreclosure proceedings, the owner has essentially abandoned responsibility. The average length for a bank foreclosure proceeding in NYS is 447 days, one of the longest in the nation. While the property is in this limbo status, it is very hard to enforce any maintenance on the home. The bank does not technically own it yet, is in no hurry to own it, and the owner has walked away.

In this case, when the bank finally does own it, so much decay will have occurred it might become a tear-downer instead of a fixer-upper.

NYS Police officer Logan from the Granville Substation is investigating the robbery. His records show Wanda Valenzuela as being the only name on the title but until she can be found, there is no one to sign a complaint. Without a complaint he is really limited on what he can do.

Does anyone from Hartford know Wanda Valenzuela or Benjamin Waring so contact can be made with them so that Wanda can sign a complaint?

The lawn is being mowed by a male in his 20s known as “Eric”. He brings in a Cub Cadet mower. Does anyone know anything about this young man as the police would really like to talk to him.

Please spread the word, if anyone has any info, please let me know and I will relay it to the authorities.

In the meantime, even though I suspect the damage has already been done by the rain, I will try to get the bank to cover the roof.