By Jim Williams

(CBS) — It’s an unusual commodity for thieves to target: chainlink fences.

But thefts of the material have been happening in the South Chicago neighborhood.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports.

In a city plagued with shootings and carjackings you might think it’s is an insignificant crime, until you listen to this 74-year-old woman.

“It hurts cause I’m here by myself, and now my back yard is wide open, so, anybody could just walk through,” she tells Williams.

Her backyard chain-link gate and the one next door were both stolen at 90th and Phillips. Thieves also made off with another gate a block away.

All three thefts happened late last month. But neighbors say it’s been a problem for years.

This woman, concealing her identity, saw one brazen thief.

“He picked up the fence, the whole fence, with his hands and put it in the car.”

This is what some neighbors are doing to stop thieves: tying up their gates.

But LaVerne Shaw and Alan Kent say criminals are taking mailbox covers, too.

First copper and then manhole covers and now mailbox covers and chain-link fences — sold as scrap metal.

In a neighborghood with a good number of seniors it makes makes them feel vulnerable.

Chicago police are asking for the public’s help in solving the thefts.

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