From the Forum – “I have been woken up several times in the last year by footsteps on the roof in the middle of the night”

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Mt. Pleasant Roof Walking:

“I live on the top floor of a row house in Mt. Pleasant and have been woken up several times in the last year by footsteps on the roof in the middle of the night. Sometimes this happens on extremely cold nights and I can’t imagine why anyone would be walking on the roof in those conditions. I know what animals on the roof sound like and I know what footsteps sound like, so I’m certain that someone is actually walking around up there. Does anyone know anything about this? Is there anything we can do? I’m bothered by it not only because it wakes me up, but also because I wonder if someone is thinking about breaking into the house via the skylight.”

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33 Comment

  • nightborn

    That is beyond creepy! I’d be calling the cops. Better safe than sorry, right?

  • It’s most likely a raccoon. Go back to bed.

  • “I have been woken up several times in the last year by footsteps on the roof in the middle of the night…”

    “…All seemed to occur on the same night: the 24th into 25th of December.”

  • If not animals, landlord, neighbors- good chance it’s urban explorer types; we tend to make a habit of traveling by rooftop and sewer. It’s the result of playing entirely too much Mario Bros as a kid & wanting to live the dream.

  • My understanding is that this is depressingly common in Washington. People (Maryland drivers?) are looking for an unlocked roof access by which they can enter into your domicile to engage in all sorts of nefarious shenanigans (undoing the alphabetized order of your bookshelves, short-sheeting unoccupied beds, altering the temperature on your thermostat, loosening the lids on your salt-shakers, stealing all your valuables, etc).

  • I had a friend whose building was constructed in such a way that when one of her neighbors was lead-footed downstairs, it sounded like someone was on the roof. Could it be something like that?

  • I don’t think of the common criminal as particularly enterprising – roof walking in extreme cold sounds beyond the average criminal tolerance for hard work.

    I find it useful to ask my neighbors, not my Internet neighbors, when it comes to questions this detailed. You’re more likely to get an accurate answer. You could also open your window, or walk out on a porch if available and just ask who is up there.

    • There was a roof break-in in my neighborhood, so it’s not impossible.

    • Our house in Shaw was broken into several years ago through the roof hatch. The police told us to get a skylight put it, that they’re much more difficult to break into than the old style access hatch we had. We did that, haven’t had any problems since then. (Who knows if the new skylight has anything to do with it, of course.)

    • dont misunderestimate criminals

  • I seem to recall reading stories like this on the Mt. Pleasant discussion board years ago. And it was indeed people looking to break into homes. Some of these rowhouses apparently have trap doors for roof access, which could provide easy entry for a potential burglar.

  • Find out if someone ever died in the house (possibly feel from the roof?). My uncle used to live in a high-rise and used to hear the distinct sound of marbles rolling on the floor of the unit above and hitting a baseboard. After several months, he complained to the building’s porter, who said that a little boy used to live in the unit above (8th floor) and fell to his death, but the unit had been vacant for months. Creepy, I know…

  • Someone broke into my neighbor’s house via the roof hatch so it does happen. Depending on the kind it hatch you have it might be really easy to secure. I have the kind that just pops off when pushed from below and I secured it with two good sized hooks. It’s not 100% burglar- proof but it’s a good deterrent.

  • We had drunk neighbors once trying to join the mile high club on our roof….in Bllomingdale though!

  • I’m sorry, why aren’t you all yelling at this person to immediately call the police. Hello. Someone is on your roof walking around in the middle of the night. CALL. THE. POLICE.

    And yes, Mt. Pleasant homes often have skylights in bathrooms and such that burglars use to enter the otherwise securely fortified home.

    Stop being insane. Call the cops.

  • I used to live on Brown Street in the early to mid-2000’s. There were multiple break-ins on Brown, Newton and Oak STs NW. via the skylights at the top of the stairwell or in a second or 3rd floor bathroom.
    My guess is this is casing. Get ready for a rash of break-ins.

  • Would a small sign near the skylight on the roof stating that the home: is monitored by a security system be a theft deterrent?

  • It could be someone trying to sneak in, or it could be something more innocuous. I have some neighbors that like to smoke pot on their roof and sometimes stray onto mine.

  • Its def a ghost / entity / the undead etc etc!!Most plausible explanation in my mind! 😉

  • If the roof of the house is metal it’s most likely squirrels or raccoons. I’m in Mount Pleasant too and they’re on my roof all the time. The metal roof amplifies the sound.

  • It’s definitely someone trying to break in or checking things out so they know which house to watch so that they can break in at a more opportune time. Those people will come home from work or vacation and find their valuables gone. Also, it’s likely that it’s someone on your block who can access the roof from a hatch in their house and looking to see of they can access homes via the same type of hatches. If yours can’t be opened or is a pain in the ass to open, they will likely move on to another one that is more accessible. Are there any drug addicts on the block? Are there any section 8’ers? Are there any adult children living with older parents? Are there any teenagers? You can’t convict on any of these theories but you would be wise to take precautions and fortify the hell out of any roof access you have.

    • +1000000 An ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure. The police won’t come anyway because no crime has been committed.

  • Burglars walk the roofs of rowhomes pulling on the roof access lids, and break in when one is not secured. Our real estate agent warned us to immediately buy hook locks to secure our roof access that comes out of an upstairs small bedroom. They walk along and pull and pull till they get an unsecured one, then they go in.

  • If you don’t have roof access to your house then call 911 next time you hear it. More than likely someone casing the place for the easy access. If you do have access and if you do have an alarm system get your alarm company to put a sensor on the access and a sign on the roof indicating it is now alarmed and still call 911 next time you hear it. Even if by chance it is a raccoon you don’t want him finding a warm place in your attic to hang out for the winter or spring. Animal control can capture and relocate if that is the case.

  • PDleftMtP

    If the OP wouldn’t mind saying which block this is, that would be great. If they’re on your roof, they’re on everyone else’s too.

  • Common theft entry point. Also raccoons are noisier than you would think. Though quiet enough one just ate a 10k EPDM roof off of my house.

  • Also pop ups, (i own a respectable one) create new entry points via roof deck doors and windows that attract more urban rats (burglars) traveling by rooftop. Considering pop ups are considered to be owned by newcomers they attract attention for pilfering IMO.

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