Shell-Shocked in River Falls

Shell-Shocked in River Falls

Peter Burnes was walking his dog through the River Falls neighborhood earlier this month when he saw an egg carton on the pavement of a cul-de-sac. Nearby, Burnes saw smashed egg shells on the road and realized that somebody had smashed eggs all over a neighbor’s car and home.

Burnes’ neighbor had plenty of company. At least six houses and a dozen vehicles were struck by eggs earlier this month. On Sunday, Jan. 1, two homes on Hackamore Drive in Potomac’s River Falls neighborhood were hit by dozens of eggs. On the morning of Sunday, Jan. 8, more than four additional River Falls homes and more than 12 vehicles were hit by eggs — many cars were directly hit this time, unlike the incident on the previous weekend.

“The effort it takes to clean up in everyday life is a lot,” Burnes said. “It really is unfair to the people who have to look for it and clean up after it. … It’s just one more thing in your life that you don’t need.”

THE RASH OF apparently racially motivated vandalism on two predominantly African American churches in upper Montgomery County over the last few weeks lends some perspective to the River Falls eggings. But River Falls families felt that what happened to them rose beyond the level of a practical joke. Several residents reported the incident to the police.

Egg is difficult to remove from the exterior of a house. “It can mess up a good detail,” said Cpl. Sonia Pruitt, spokesperson for Montgomery County police. “And if you don’t have a good detail, it can ruin your paint job.”

More than 10 days after their home was hit, Steven and Lynne Benz were still cleaning up their house. Egg covered some of their windows, the garage door and garage roof, went through a screen and damaged a window shutter. A garden hose on the power setting was not enough to remove it from their house siding, and the Benzes had to use a brush to remove the egg. This was more effective, but it scraped paint off their garage.

“It took multiple days to clean up, and it took multiple days to find,” Lynn Benz said. “It does cost money and it does cost time.”

The father of another family whose home was struck said he considered it a one-time incident, and asked not to be named in the article.

A majority of those whose homes were hit have high school-aged children.

“There’s a lot worse going on in the world, but you’d hate to have that one more thing to deal with,” Burnes said.