Kathleen Walker doesn't have much. As a single mom on welfare with three children, she is afforded few luxuries.

But when her Tacony neighbor got a new grill for his birthday and gave Walker his old one, she found a way to treat her family to something special.

This weekend, however, that small luxury was taken away from Walker when her grill and three other grills belonging to her neighbors on Knorr Street near Jackson were stolen.

"It's not right. We have nothing here," Walker said. "And they're taking what little bit we have away from us."

Walker said she believes the backyard grills fell victim to a metals-theft crime wave sweeping the nation.

As metal commodities prices soar, authorities have seen a direct correlation in the theft of metal objects, which are often sold to scrap yards for a fraction of their actual value.

The idea that a thief stole her grill for a few dollars bothers Walker, because for her, the grill's ability to bring her family together and provide a good meal for her children was priceless.

She said she was scheduled to have a barbecue Friday evening but had to cancel when she realized her grill was stolen. She then learned that two other neighbors had their grills stolen that day as well.

One of those neighbors, she said, had two grills. One was stolen Friday and his other grill, she said, was stolen the very next day.

Walker's grill was stolen Friday and on Saturday when she awoke, she realized the thief or thieves had hit her again - stealing a "huge" basketball hoop in her backyard and a baby carriage belonging to one of her daughters.

Again, the thief not only took her property, but her spirit, she said. Walker was to sell those items in a yard sale that day.

"We didn't have the yard sale. We couldn't. We had nothing to sell," she said. "It was stolen and now somebody is selling it somewhere."

Police said they have not received reports of a grill-theft crime wave.

And probably for a good reason: Walker said she has not called police.

"The 15th District is so busy. They are dealing with murders and everything else and this is not important," she said. "They won't do anything."

So, Walker, a democratic committeewoman, took it upon herself to alert her neighbors.

"I walked the neighborhood as a committeewoman and said 'If you've got it, take it inside because you won't have it tomorrow,' " she said.

Walker said she's starting to not even recognize the landscape of her own back yard.

"I mean I look outside now and there is nothing," she said. *