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Side Streets: Strange saga of Pulpit Rock neighborhood resumes as junk cars return, vanish

May 17, 2015 Updated: May 17, 2015 at 7:44 am
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photo - Residents of the Pulpit Rock neighborhood were upset when neighbor Greg Heskin began amassing junk trucks on the dirt surrounding his home at Brittany Circle and Dublin Road on Tuesday, May 12, 2015. In April,  Colorado Springs Police and code enforcement officers descended on Heskin's house, hauling debris and two junk trucks away. On April 22, Heskin was found guilty of four counts of keeping unlicensed and junk cars and debris. He will be sentenced June 10. Bill Vogrin / The Gazette
Residents of the Pulpit Rock neighborhood were upset when neighbor Greg Heskin began amassing junk trucks on the dirt surrounding his home at Brittany Circle and Dublin Road on Tuesday, May 12, 2015. In April, Colorado Springs Police and code enforcement officers descended on Heskin's house, hauling debris and two junk trucks away. On April 22, Heskin was found guilty of four counts of keeping unlicensed and junk cars and debris. He will be sentenced June 10. Bill Vogrin / The Gazette 

The "Side Streets" hotline was ringing like crazy last week from residents of the Pulpit Rock neighborhood who wanted to report that Greg Heskin was at it again, amassing junk trucks on the dirt surrounding his home at Brittany Circle and Dublin Road.

Just a few weeks ago, Colorado Springs police and code enforcement officers circled Heskin's house, ordering two junk trucks towed away. They warned him to clean up the rest of his property or face more charges.

Then, on April 22, Heskin was found guilty of four counts of keeping unlicensed and junk cars and accumulated debris at his home, stemming from a summons written in January 2014.

Municipal Judge Carol Carter convicted Heskin and ordered him to return June 10 for sentencing, where he faces up to 189 days in jail and $2,500 in fines and court costs on each count.

(After trial, Heskin told me he was a harmless, sentimental, misunderstood victim of mean neighbors.)

Neighbors had hoped the police action, his conviction and the prospect of punishment would end a five-year battle that pitted Heskin against his neighborhood and the city.

They were wrong.

On Tuesday, Heskin again began filling his yard with junk trucks.

"What's going on?" one neighbor asked in disbelief.

"I can't believe he's doing it again," said another caller.

"Can't anyone stop him?" yet another neighbor asked.

Attempts to reach Heskin were unsuccessful, but a trip to the neighborhood confirmed that junk trucks had, indeed, sprouted from the dirt at his house like rusty steel weeds.

There was a truck with a mismatched bed sitting in the front. A junker on a trailer on the south side. Two junkers under a tree on the north side yard. And a beat-up SUV sitting on a mound in the backyard.

The "Side Streets" hotline wasn't the only phone ringing. Code Enforcement Administrator Tom Wasinger's phone also came alive with complaints from neighbors. The next day, he was out there again with a team that included an enforcement officer, police and cleanup crew.

"We made contact with Mr. Heskin and asked him why he was bringing these vehicles back onto the property," Wasinger said. "He had no explanation for why he was doing it. We explained it was not OK. We advised him he could not have those vehicles there. And we wrote him a ticket for two more counts of unlicensed and inoperable vehicles.

"We've drawn the line. We cannot let this continue."

But less than an hour after Wasinger, the police and the cleanup crew left, yet another clunker truck arrived. It didn't even have an engine, doors or wheels. By the end of the day, Heskin had five junk trucks on the north side and another in front.

Then something magical happened. On Thursday, Heskin made all but one disappear.

"I was so happy to hear that," Wasinger said. "I hope he realizes we aren't going to mess around anymore."

It seems the battle is finally ending.

Definitive word came from Floyd Frame, an 85-year-old retired high school band director who still plays in an ensemble and renovates houses on the side.

Frame told me he now owns the house where Heskin lives. He bought it at auction April 22 after Heskin let it go into foreclosure.

"I'm going to fix it up," said Frame, though he was reluctant to talk about his plans because of one lingering problem:

"This guy ain't out of there yet," he said. "As soon as he's out of there, we're going to start working. We'll fix it up."

Frame said he was negotiating a departure date with Heskin, but could not be more specific.

"Just tell the neighbors there is hope," Frame said. "Hope is on the way."

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Please follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/sidestreets.billvogrin.

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