In 1984, someone stole Mifflin Street. Yes, as in they stone-by-stone took the street apart in broad daylight.
How does such a thing happen? In Philly.com’s series of forgotten city history, this week the story revolves around the stealing of Mifflin Street.
The plan was to dig up the stones, stash them at a nearby lot on Oregon Avenue and truck them in shifts to sell to a North Jersey salvage yard.
For transportation, he hired Gustav Propper, a waste hauler from Northeast Philadelphia with a criminal record. In the 1970s, Propper served a jail term for dumping explosive chemicals into a Bensalem Township sewer, and was fined $25 for discarding slime into Pennypack Creek. For a while, he also owned a Bensalem-based demolition firm that in 1974 knocked down a house in Northern Liberties and killed a woman in the house next door.
All told, Monkiewicz’s crew ripped up 16,300 pavers before the shopkeeper finally called the city, which called the police.
If you’re interested in some fun South Philly history, the whole story is worth a read.