Thanks to the Built St. Louis Blog, I found this great tool to look at the city of St. Louis from a bird’s eye view.
Pictured at the following link is the block of Montgomery Avenue where I encountered my brick thief friends. I have dated these images to the summer of 2006 before the Great Storm (the Mullanphy Emigrant Home is still undamaged), and it’s shocking how good of shape the buildings are in, which I later saw destroyed–or in the process of being destroyed. The group of three buildings on your right featured the building in the middle which is now a giant pile of brick. Looks pretty stable to me. Likewise, the two houses on the left side of the screen are also completely intact last summer; they are now unstable hulks stripped of several load-bearing walls.
It makes me wonder why these buildings were targeted when they were. Montgomery St. is a short street that ends in a T-bone intersection at one end. It’s nice and quiet, and from the looks of it, no inhabited buildings still exist on this block. A perfect place to steal bricks, it seems.