This is a story about a marble fireplace.

Last week The Washington Post ran a story about hapless Cary Conn whose downtown Victorian rowhouse was burglarized three times in one week, whose car was stolen the same week and who personally foiled a fourth burglary. The police thought it a record of sorts for one person and one house. Conn, whose house at 919 I St. NW had been taken by the city for the proposed convention center, moved out.

The photograph that appeared with the story showed Conn sitting in his living room next to a rounded, white marble fireplace.

"The calls started up the day the story ran. I think there were 50 at my office that day," said Conn.

The calls and letters still are coming in. Most everybody is interested in one thing . . . the marble fireplace.

"After awhile a pattern emerged," said Conn. "First they say how sorry they are for my plight.They mostly say 'plight.' Then they pause, and their voice changes a little and they ask to buy or take the marlbe fireplace. I tell them all the same thing. It is not for sale. I have taken it out of the house," said Conn.

Then there was the dentist who, told the mantel was not available for sale, asked Conn to have a drink to discuss it.

"I told him I was too busy. So then he said, well, how about if he cleaned my teeth for free and we could talk that way. I was so amazed, I accepted," said Conn.

Conn went off to the local dentist, and while the hygenist cleaned his teeth, the dentist talked.

"He told me that the mantel would look wonderful in his Victorian home, and that I could come and visit it," said Conn.

The answer: no.

The dentist showed Conn his house and where the mantel would look so wonderful. Then Conn showed him his former home and where the mantel wasn't. w

Undaunted, the dentist called back to say that he had three daughters and they would all love to have the mantel.

The answer: no.

One caller from his new neighborhood on Capitol Hill said he had a very old house and a very old fireplace. He invited Conn to come and enjoy his house and his fireplace whenever Conn felt lonely for his old place. e

Then there was the call that came to The Post. The caller said he wanted to know how to reach Conn. "I want to buy his fireplace," he said. "Don't force me to steal it." CAPTION: Picture, Cary Conn's much wanted, unavailable Victorian fireplace brings deluge of mail. Copyright (c) 1979, Linda Wheeler