Arlington owner files police report

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 12, 2009

NATCHEZ — Arlington owner Dr. Thomas Vaughan filed a report with the Natchez Police Department Friday, claiming a John Deere tractor was stolen from his property this week.

Vaughan filed the report after meeting with Municipal Judge Jim Blough and Building Inspector Paul Dawes about Arlington’s current status.

Blough ordered the historic house be boarded up by Dec. 21, and vandalized equipment be removed from the property by Jan. 8, Dawes said.

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“The city has already cleaned the property, but there’s still a lot of work to do,” Dawes said.

“We’re trying the get the house secure again. We’re trying to protect the property,” Vaughan said. “I would like to sell the house, but security’s been an issue.”

Vaughan said he wasn’t aware the city had been contacting him about Arlington until he was served a citation for property neglect in October.

“I didn’t get any phone calls or letters before the notice,” Vaughan said. “When you have someone being robbed and vandalized, it’s easy to pick on the one that’s being robbed.”

Vaughan said the house’s deteriorating condition is cause for distress.

“There is a venal, criminal element here,” Vaughan said. “(Vandals) are bent on destroying something they don’t own. It’s just sickening.

“We need a conviction. They’re destroying craftsmanship and history and that cannot be tolerated.”

Dawes testified in court last week that drug paraphernalia rested on the property as well as a bulldozer, a backhoe, a manlift, two dump trucks and a bucket truck. Dawes said the radiators had been removed from both dump trucks, and the hood had been removed from one of the dump trucks.

Vaughan said the equipment on the property was there to refurbish the house. Now that a tractor has been stolen — the fourth tractor to be stolen from the property, according to Vaughan — Vaughan urges the community to be more vigilant of suspicious activity.

“(Vandals) destroy your property so you can’t enjoy it, and they destroy your tools so you can’t fix it,” Vaughan said.

“I’m concerned the history is lost. Natchez is known for its history. Take that away and there’s no reason for anybody to come here.”