When 87-year-old, scooter-bound Floyd Thompson returned to his Stone Mountain home July 22 after a trip out of town, he could not open his front door.
Burglars had ransacked the home on Sheppard Way in unincorporated Stone Mountain where Thompson and his late wife raised their six children.
Breaking the frame off the back door which had three locks, the burglars destroyed and piled up furniture against the front door—the only wheelchair-accessible entrance to Thompson’s home.
“I couldn’t believe what I saw,” Thompson said. “I couldn’t even get in.”
“As Daddy said, they were mean,” said Judy Parker, Thompson’s oldest daughter. “They didn’t want him to be able to go back into this house. They blocked the door because they knew that he was disabled.”
The burglars broke the coffee and end tables, ripped couch cushions, destroyed a recliner and cut the answering machine wires. The freezer door was left open, the contents of cabinets strewn on the floor and medicine bottles emptied.
Thompson’s belongings were piled “a foot and a half high all over this house,” Parker said. “I haven’t even gotten into two rooms.”
Parker, who uses a walker, needed a rake and two hours to clear a path for her father to get in.
Roaches, rats and rainwater came in through a door left open when the burglars left.
They stole phones, a TV, jewelry and two shotguns.
“We haven’t even discovered everything that’s gone yet,” Parker said.
Thompson does not know precisely when the crime happened. He left town July 18 to visit a son in Oxford, Ga., and returned to Stone Mountain July 22.
Parker said she believes the burglars are familiar with her father.
“They know who he is,” Parker said. “Personally, I think it was a gang or group of teenagers that were up to no good. Or a group of hoodlooms.
“I’m pretty sure they live around here and they see him all the time on the scooter or they see him crawling around in the yard, because he can’t walk and he can’t even stand up,” she said.
Thompson built the two-bedroom, one-bath house in 1955 and later added a third bedroom.
“I mostly built it myself,” Thompson said. “I laid all the brick myself.
“It’s been a home for 57 years,” Thompson said. “There’s a lot of memories here—precious memories. I didn’t have an idea it would come down to this.”
Parker said the destruction in the house has been hard on the family.
“It’s like ripping out not only his heart, but the family’s heart as well,” Parker said.
Parker said the response of the DeKalb Police officers who came to the scene added to the family’s distress.
“We asked [the police] to please take fingerprints and investigate,” Parker said. “They said it was not considered a crime scene and there was nothing they could do. They wrote a report, but they’re not investigating.
“We’re very angry with the DeKalb County Police Department because they would do nothing,” Parker said.
Despite media coverage of the crime, Parker said her father has received little community support to help him get his life back to normal.
All the help they have had cleaning the house so far has been paid workers. A fund for Thompson at Wells Fargo Bank has $400 in donations thus far, but Parker said she has had to spend that much on a credit card to replace some of the bare necessities for her father.
“I keep having to spend money I don’t have,” Parker said.
Thompson’s homeowners insurance will pay $5,400 for the damage, but will not be enough, Parker said. The home’s carpet and linoleum is being replaced. The backdoor frame needs repairing. And Thompson needs a newer refrigerator.
“They have no respect for anybody else,” Parker said of the burglars. “They pooped and wiped it all over the bathroom walls up as high as they could reach. I don’t understand it. They urinated on some of his clothes and on [the] carpet.
“I would tie them to a ball-and-chain and make them clean up what they did,” she said.