And so it was on the afternoon of November the 14th, 2013 that I drove up to my house and noticed the front door wide open. My mom comes to the house in the mornings, before I leave for work, to pick up my daughter, and I was hoping she had forgotten to close it. I stayed in the car and called her to check. No, she didn’t think she’d left it open and she and my dad would be right over. We walked in the door and the first thing I noticed was a square piece of unbroken glass on the floor. What was it, I wondered. Then I realized it was the single pane of glass from our front door.
As I turned, I noticed the doors of the cabinets in the living room were wide open. Stuff was missing. The realization that we had been burglarized dawned a bit slowly because the gigantic plasma TV that anchors our living room was still there, and no longer shall I knock the heaviness of said TV as a bad thing. But the stand on which the TV sat was askew. Why? The Xbox was gone.
I went upstairs. The bedroom closet had been torn apart, the drawers of the nightstands rifled through.
Back downstairs, where I finally saw the television in the family room / Shaun’s office had been torn off the wall, and three of his four game consoles were missing, as well as more games.
My tablet! Where’s my beloved Surface? Gone, of course.
I decided I should take pictures, only to realize my camera was also missing. That seemed to be the extent of the damage, so I called 911. I wasn’t sure I should be bothering the operators with a burglary, but my parents assured me it qualified as an emergency. They said they would send a police officer out ASAP, and about five hours later he showed up, gave me a theft report to fill out, and left.
This is by no means an uncommon tale. It’s probably happened to you or someone you know. There was more here that could have been taken, but for the quick smash and grab job they did, they got plenty. And as they are so fond of saying in those alarm system commercials, the most valuable thing they got was our sense of security.
This house always felt a little iffy. There are renters behind and to the side of us and we’re on a corner lot next to a busy street. But we know our neighbors and after leaving our garage open all night several times over several summers, and never having a thing go missing, we figured things must be pretty good.
Of course, I never liked our front door. I’ve wanted to change it from the moment we moved in. I hated that strangers and solicitors could see through the pane of glass, all the way to the kitchen, and could see me well before I got to the door. I had wanted to change it to a door with a peephole, and of course now I desperately wish that I had done so at any time over the past six years. The criminals left face and fingerprints on the storm door, as they no doubt peered in to make sure no one was home.
After the cops left and we started cleaning up, I noticed a few other things missing. A red metal box on my desk that had old credit cards and loyalty program cards in it, plus some really awesome card holders I bought at the Asian dollar store many moons ago. Two plastic jewelry boxes full of jewelry worth approximately 20 cents had also been taken. I liked the boxes though. If you’re female and the right age, you will probably have a severe ’80s flashback when I tell you they were “Caboodles.” This made me angry. When I realized one of the boxes contained all my necklaces, including one I got in France, I cried. It wasn’t worth anything. It was a shiny blue apple. I liked the color and the shape of the apple reminded me of the Apple Corps logo. I have only been abroad once and I still have everything I bought, even the clothes that don’t fit. Bye, necklace.
Something else was missing from my desk. One of the cubby holes was too empty. But I couldn’t think of what was there. I pulled up a picture I took for posterity several months ago when I cleaned my desk. It was my yellow UW piggy bank, that said “Tuition Fund” on the side. It had maybe $5 worth of loose change inside it, but I’ll never find that piggy bank again.
Oh, they also stole three pillowcases. I guess they didn’t think far enough ahead to bring their own damn pillowcases.
I’m amazed that with all of the expensive electronics they took, they still managed to take so many sentimental things. I guess that’s because my ratio of sentimental things is high.
All of this could have been worse. No one was hurt, and a majority of our electronics were spared. We’ll get money from the insurance to replace what we need to, and as for the rest of it, I’ll get over it, maybe, sort of, some day. But now we’re going to have to get an alarm system and I doubt that no matter where we move in the future we’ll be without one. I’ll also forever be writing down the serial numbers of everything I own and keeping them in the cloud, annoyed at having to take the time for something I hope to never use, but knowing hey – it happened once…
Was this an avoidable situation? I don’t know. If I’d stayed home from work because of a headache, which I very nearly did, maybe they just would have come back a different day. Or maybe they would have moved on and someone else would be writing this blog. Maybe if the front door had been more secure, they would have thrown a brick through the back one. But my advice to anyone who is reading this is that if there is something in your house that makes you feel less than secure, like my window-paned door, change it. Maybe nothing will ever happen if you don’t, but do it anyway. Do it today. Even if you don’t have the money, put it on a credit card and try to cut some other corners for a while. If someone gets in anyway, at least you won’t have spent six years creeping down the staircase, worried about what the stranger at your door might want.