smb814: (SG1 Daniel Not Happy Face)
Two weeks since the last incident. Just like clockwork.

So, my mom had surgery yesterday for skin cancer on her face. They removed the spot, and then she had plastic surgery to patch up the quarter-sized hole left behind. She took off of work today and had an appointment at 11:30 to check to make sure everything was all right. I decided to take the afternoon off to take her to the doctor's and then spend time with her because she's, unsurprisingly, feeling rather self-conscious what with the massive work that was done on her face, leaving behind blood, brusing, stitches, the whole works.

So it's about 2:15 in the afternoon, we're about to start watching a movie, when the front doorbell rings. Twice. We know better than to answer the front door (since everyone who knows us uses the side door, not the front door), so we didn't. My mom looked, and it was an African-American kid, 15 or 16 years old (IMO), with a brown wool hat on, blue T-shirt, and a black backpack. Next we know, we see him walking past the den window, looking in the windows. A minute later, he's walking past the kitchen windows, looking around. After that he vanishes.

We got in my car and drove around the area, but we didn't see anyone looking like him. We go back home, I call the next door neighbor's just to let her know to keep her eyes open for anyone suspicious in the area matching that description, and hang up. Less than a minute later, we see a backpack walking past our kitchen windows again -- the kid had ducked down to avoid anyone seeing him. I call the neighbor back, and he gets on his bike and follows the kid, and a woman with a kid saw him go into one of the nearby apartment buildings.

The policeman comes, gets the description, and goes with the next door neighbor to see the apartment building. Doesn't find anyone matching that description, although he does pass it along to squad cars to keep their eyes open. If they had found him, all they could have charged him with was prowling.

*bangs head against desk*

Why? Why, why, why, why, WHY won't they just leave us alone?! We have enough other stuff to worry about right now with my mom; we do NOT want to deal with mentally deranged, obsessed, harassing kids with nothing better to do with their time than terrorize innocent neighbors right now! My mom is going to be home again tomorrow, alone...I'm tempted to take off of work, just to be with her in case this kid (or his buddies) comes back!

What alarms me most is that this time it was only one kid, as opposed to the two kids who broke in the last time. So was the one here today one of the two kids here the last time, or was he somebody different, someone working alone? Does a gang have us pegged for an initiation rite? If you want in, steal something from this house? How many kids in the area really ARE responsible for what's been going on to us?

This is absolutely nuts. Five incidents now in a little over two months, and six in a little over a year. Every two weeks, they seem to try something new. What do they do, mark it on their calendars that it's time to break into our house again?

I can't live here anymore. And moving is too long, involved of a process to just get up and move tomorrow.

Somebody help me. Please. I can't take much more of this.

*breaks down sobbing*
smb814: (SG1 Daniel Not Happy Face)
So, apparently the news I posted last time about our resident burglar getting shot in the head during a burglary attempt turned out to be an overzealous story. Not necessarily by our neighbor -- he wouldn't make that up -- but by whoever told him that story.

I've now heard four different versions of what happened two blocks away from our house a few weeks ago. One was the story I posted last time. Another is that a kid was shot in the butt walking down the street by someone he knew, but while he knew the person who shot him, he had no idea *why* that person shot him. A third story is that a kid was shot in the butt while trying to steal computer equipment. A fourth just said it was a "family dispute."

Cops aren't talking about what happened, so we have no idea what really happened. All we know is that there were four squad cars, a handful of detectives there, and some yellow tape marking off the area. Oh, and we know whatever really happened, it wasn't our burglar(s) who were shot.

We know that because they broke into our house. Again. Yesterday morning.

Around ten in the morning, the alarm system went off. ADT called my dad's cell phone; he immediately called my mom (who works five minutes away from our home); she grabbed two tough guys from where she worked; they went to the house. The kids were still inside the house when they got there. The three of them walked around the house, looking for the entry point, but they couldn't find it, although one of the men saw someone in a white shirt inside. While they were in the back yard, the kids made a break for it out the front yard -- it turns out they had kicked in the siding on the air conditioner again and put the board back up, so naturally, on a quick exam, no one noticed that there was anything wrong with it. They got back out again the way they got in -- the only other way out would have been to break a window, because our front door has a dead bolt on it.

Our next door neighbor saw the two kids running down the street and gave a description to the police. A man outside a few blocks away saw the same two kids walking down the street a little later (and he'd seen them go up the street before). He came and talked to the police and told them what direction the kids went. He also said it didn't look like they were carrying anything and their pockets appeared to be empty. As far as we can tell, they didn't get anything this time except ten seconds away from being caught because, duh, we don't keep any money anywhere anyone can easily access it anymore.

*buries head in hands*

It's two black kids, apparently between 12 and 15 years of age. Two bored little adrenaline-addicted, game-playing brats have been the ones repeatedly terrorizing our home. Why am I not surprised when kids are breaking into Target stores with sledgehammers and breaking open video game display cases so they can steal the games? When 11 year old kids are holding up a local George Webb restaurant? When kids are going to county fairs and scratching up hundreds of cars with keys? This is what the city of Milwaukee has been reduced to, because no one is allowed to punish these kids anymore, claiming it's all "child abuse."

Parents and schools aren't teaching their students responsibility. Parents and schools aren't teaching their children right from wrong. Parents are, instead, crying bloody murder anytime anyone tries to tell them that their child did anything wrong. And it's innocent, law-abiding, hardworking citizens who are paying the price for it.

This society is going down the tubes, and all we can do is watch. The historian in me predicts that the country will eventually cave in on itself, as Rome did, because these kids are our future. It's a future that terrifies me. This isn't a world I want to live in.

These kids probably thought we were bluffing with the ADT sign. That, or they figured Milwaukee's police would take a half hour to respond, and they'd be long out of there before that, because OF COURSE they knew where we kept all our money! *rolls eyes*

I'd like to say the nightmare is all over and they won't be back again now that they've had such a close call and didn't get anything, but the truth is, these arrogant little bastards (please excuse my language) are way too bold NOT to try it again. We've been leaving cars out in the driveway so it looks like someone's home; that didn't stop them this time. We've been leaving lights on and the air conditioning on inside the house; that didn't stop them, either. They didn't care that the alarms were all going off; they stayed in the house. They don't care if someone's home; they're just going to barge in and take what they want. And I'm afraid next time they're going to either retaliate by vandalizing or destroying our house or cars, bring guns with them, or come with a bigger group of kids who can beat the crap out of anyone who tries to stop them. I'd say I'm being paranoid, but it happened in another neighborhood not too far from ours just two nights ago.

At least the alarm system has already paid for itself -- I can't imagine what our house would have looked like this time if we hadn't stopped them from spending a half hour inside the house like it appears they did last time. We don't HAVE anything left in the house of value for them to steal (and I would've thought they'd have figured that out the last time when they scoured the place), so they would've had to tear apart EVERYTHING just to find something, and if they hadn't found something, they would've gotten frustrated and started demolishing things.

Oh, and the small window alarms we'd put all over the window with the air conditioning apparently at least pissed them off and frustrated them. My dad had glued them on (because these kids had turned them off the last time), and the only way they could get to shut them up was to flush them down the toilet. Granted, we had to get the plumber to come in this morning because the alarms got stuck in the toilet and were continuously chirping (yes, that's right, the alarms kept going even after being submerged in water), but I can't help smirking knowing it at least wasted some of their precious time inside the house.

I just worry, too, that even if these kids are finally scared off from our house for good, they'll just start it up with someone else's house. They've made too much money off of this string of robberies (and probably had too much fun) to give up this life of crime. At least now we have general descriptions of who we're looking for, and half the neighborhood is keeping their eyes open for them.

Moving is now definitely on the agenda for the next year or two. Even if these kids are caught and punished (i.e. not just given a slap on the wrist), we can't stay in a house where we've been violated this repeatedly. It doesn't feel like a safe haven anymore, and it never will again. We just don't know where we want to go or what kind of house to look for.

*sighs* This has, without a doubt, been the Year From Hell. Can it please, please, please be over now?


Jul. 2nd, 2007 08:48 pm
smb814: (FFX Tidus Smirk)
Huh. In a sense, I expected this. In another, it's a complete surprise.

As anyone who's been following this ongoing saga on my LJ knows, my neighborhood's resident burglar has been hitting the neighborhood roughly once a week. It's entirely possible it's been more than that, but we haven't heard about any other instances because, well, we don't know everyone in the neighborhood yet. We're working on changing that, but at the moment, that's what we know.

So, today's burglary involved a townhouse about four blocks from our house. The kid broke in and stole a lady's computer equipment.

Let me clarify: he was trying to steal a lady's computer. The difference this time was that the lady came home while he was still there, pulled out her gun, and shot the kid in the head. According to the neighbor who just told us about it, he's dead.

Police have swarmed the area. Finally, they're doing something about it. And you know what? If they had followed our other neighbor's tip two weeks ago about where the thief was taking all the stolen goods, this particular death could have potentially been avoided. I'm afraid to hear how it's going to affect that woman's life, because right now I don't trust our legal system to not try to punish her for defending herself.

A part of me hates seeing anyone die like this; after all, he was someone's son. The other part of me is deeply relieved and saying, "Good! That's what you get for making a living out of terrorizing people and stealing other people's hard-worked earnings!" I really, really hate feeling like that about someone's violent death, but after all the crap we've been through the past few weeks, a little piece of justice like this goes a long, long way to restoring my faith in the world.

Granted, we're not entirely sure the kid who was killed is the same one who broke into our house all those times, but gee, stealing computer equipment and following that weekly timeframe? Sounds a little too coincidental, if you ask me. It would be interesting to hear if the neighbor who got that good look at the kid two weeks ago could ID him.

I'm sure this kid wasn't working alone and there's other creeps out there, too close to home, but maybe there will be a police investigation this time. Maybe they'll find more stolen goods (or, heh, our missing ADT sign, because exactly who would he be able to sell that thing to?). Maybe this kid's fellow creeps will give it a rest for fear of the same thing happening to them. Maybe there will be an effort to clean up that part of the neighborhood. Maybe we'll even have some peace of mind again in our own home, at least for awhile, until they start getting cocky and start the cycle up again.

If anyone's interested, let me know and I'll keep you guys informed of the fallout from this. And can I just say, again, how grateful I am for everyone on my friend list who provided their input, support, encouragement, and suggestions through the emotional turmoil of the past few weeks? Thank you all so, so much. Maybe this insanity is finally coming to an end!
smb814: (Default)
So, an update on the ongoing saga/insanity at home with the robberies and, now, harassment.

Our house wasn't hit last week, but a neighbor's was. They broke in through a side window, stole the family's laptop computer, and walked out the back door. The neighbors had seen someone walking up and down the street three times (gee, not suspicious AT ALL) and gave a description. The guy who was robbed drove around and around the neighborhood, looking for someone, and -- get this -- actually SAW the kid, with his computer in his hands, outside an apartment building near their house. He started going after the guy, but the guy ran into the apartment, and then three or four other guys came out of the apartment. Needless to say, he backed off.

The Milwaukee police took FOUR HOURS to respond to his call. I guess our 1 1/2 hour response time was great compared to what it could have been. By then, though, of course, there wouldn't be any evidence left. I'm sure that computer was sold immediately after that. But the guy did see this kid's face, good.

The next day, our next door neighbor noticed someone on the street who looked suspicious. She slowed her car down, and the guy hid his face under his hood. Gee, also not suspicious. Nope. Not in the least.

We got a security system last week (ADT). Expensive, but ultimately we didn't have a choice in the matter anymore. This creep/these creeps just refuse to leave our neighborhood -- and us -- alone.

So things have been quiet for a week...until last night, when they decided to steal the ADT sign outside our house. Didn't take anyone else's security signs, but they took ours. Basically, that's the equivalent of giving us the finger. We're guessing they came back to steal our cars with the keys they took from us this last time, but got pissed at us for changing the locks. Idiots. Because, you know, I was going to HAPPILY hand over my car to you. *rolls eyes*

I bought a lock for my computer and monitor, so at least it'll take them awhile to find a way to take it with them. And the longer it takes them to get anything valuable inside the house, the more likely they'll be to get noticed and caught. But I have a hunch next time they hit us (because obviously they're not bored of "playing" this "game" with us yet), it won't be to steal anything. It'll be to destroy things, maybe even the house itself. I could see this turning into someone throwing a pipe bomb through the window and running off, laughing hysterically at the "power" they have over us. Hey, it's happened elsewhere in the city, and within the past few days, at that.

So I moved even more stuff out of the house. Everything on my computer (which is home again) is backed up in case they destroy the thing or steal the hard drive. Everything extremely important is on me at all times.

This is no way to live, though. I'm getting so, so tired of all of it, living out of other people's houses and sitting with a baseball bat consantly beside me and having to run to the window any time I see movement outside. These kids (probably late teens/early twenties, judging from the few descriptions we've had) are nothing short of terrorists. Money and possessions mean nothing to us, but the loss of your peace of mind and feeling of safety and security and being able to function like a human being without being paranoid about everyone around you is irreplaceable. And why? Because these idiots are hooked on drugs, or bored, or "practicing making trouble" or just that miserable with life that they decide to make everyone else miserable, too.

We did nothing to them but try to protect our own possessions. We put in glass block windows; they decided to trash our house to "get even" with us for trying to take away something they apparently now see as theirs. We get a security system; they give us the finger. I'm sure they're planning something else. Heck, they probably just think we put the sign outside to scare them off and don't really have a system. I'm scared. I want to move out of the area -- out of the city -- but where do we go? Because we didn't WANT to move, it's not like we have a destination in mind, other than somewhere that we get a better police response time than 4 hours. You can't just drop everything and move, either; moving takes time, especially since we've been in this house for nearly 35 years, have a ton of stuff to go through, and have lots of upkeep to do to it yet, just so we can try selling it for a reasonable price.

And you know what's the worst part of all this? Coming to the realization that, if I was home alone the next time these creeps hit, I have the capability in me to beat them to a bloody pulp and potentially kill them. I never, ever wanted to come to that realization about myself, because it's not pretty. But it's realistic. Out of self-defense, I could kill a person. Especially knowing that, even if they're caught, they'll probably either get off scot-free on a technicality or will only be sentenced to a month or two in prison, because laws are just that lax nowadays. And they certainly won't feel bad for everything they've done.

I can't understand this mindset that people nowadays have, the lack of caring and the "entitlement" attitude people seem to have. "If I can't have it, you can't either." I don't want to understand it, because the mind of a monster is an ugly, ugly place. How did life get to be this messed up? How do we fix it? Is it even possible anymore?

What else can my family do? We reported the incident this morning to the police, and I just looked up a whole mess of phone numbers/email addresses for our alderman and police department and other assorted things. But this isn't going to stop until these kids are caught or get so bored that they move on to someone else to target. And as much as I want my life back, I wouldn't wish what we've been going through on anyone else.

Does anyone on my flist have ANY idea what else we could do to stop this continued harassment? Any idea whatsoever?
smb814: (Default)
Oh, my lovely Flist...I love you all, so, so much. Thank you for your kind thoughts and support right now. Words can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

I would reply to each of you personally (and I still might eventually, if I'm lucky), but we're swamped with taking care of things around the house today (every other time I've been on the internet today I've been looking security stuff up) and I'm exhausted because I barely slept last night, so I'm going to make this quick and then try to get to bed.

So, the day's progress.

1) We got new locks installed on all the doors, and we added a lock to the door at the base of the steps coming upstairs (where my room is). We pretty much had to do all of that when we found that a partial set of house keys had vanished along with our car keys during the break-in yesterday.

2) We moved my parents' air conditioner to a window facing the street so it's not quite as easy to break into. We still have to trim the shrubs around that new window, but it's a start, especially when there's only so many hours in the day.

3) We cleaned stuff up that had been royally messed up yesterday.

4) We started going through tons of paperwork that's been sitting around for eons and dumping things.

5) We called the electric company and started finding out what we need to do to remove a few troublesome trees that have electrical wires running really, really close to them. They're contacting the Forestry department and we should hear back from them within the next 10 days or so.

Not too bad. It's amazing how much you can get done in a single day when you put your mind to it.

In addition to the money, computer monitor, and the keyboard, they also took our computer mouse. Go figure. All we can theorize is that they're planning to come back soon for the rest of the computer. Needless to say, tomorrow we're moving it to a location completely outside of the house. It's not like it'll work without a monitor, keyboard, or mouse anyway. *sighs* And, of course, this is assuming they didn't completely wreck the computer itself and it still works.

We're also planning, this coming weekend, on moving my computer to an alternate, safer location until this whole thing has (hopefully) passed. The last thing we need is to lose our one remaining, functioning computer because they decide they want this one, too. It'll be awful being without internet access at home, but right now it's not a chance I want to take. Besides, I don't need any further distractions right now. I need to focus on my novel and on cleaning up so we can start thinking about moving.

Also on the agenda for tomorrow is cutting down some more tree branches, getting the cars re- keyed (and hope and pray that they don't decide to take their frustration about that out in an act of vandalism against any of the poor cars themselves), going through more stuff around the house, moving even more stuff down to my dad's church, and doing some in-depth research about security systems. Oh, and trying (again) to get some information about the best response to possible identity theft that a woman at work was supposed to get me...only I think she forgot.

As for the security system do any of you have a security system on your own house? If so, what brand? Do you like it? Is it, in your opinion, worth the money? Is it reliable? Is it quick to install and activate? Does it have a quick response time? We've looked at a few brands but none are standing out so far, so we're definitely seeking personal recommendations.
I suppose I'd better get to bed and try to sleep now.
smb814: (Default)
It's well after 11 p.m., Joy already knows I'm not going in to work tomorrow, and I'm positive it's going to take me forever to fall asleep tonight, so here I am writing in my LJ because I need some semblance of catharsis.

Last week we put in glass block windows in our basement windows. Over the weekend we also started cutting down the lower branches of the trees along the culprit side of the house so it opened up the area and made it more visible. We also bought window alarms so that if a window ever moved, an alarm would sound.

Instead of breaking in the downstairs window, they busted in the siding on my parents' air conditioner (this person is small, because very few people would be able to fit through a window of that size). They disabled the alarm on the window. They then tore apart my parents' room, the den (with my parents' computer), the bathroom, the kitchen, and the living room, looking for money. When they only found about $200 (that we know of), they decided to take my parents' flatscreen computer monitor and keyboard. The monitor would fetch a pretty penny; the keyboard makes no sense. They also took three sets of car keys, one for each of our cars. Once again, I got off lucky that they never bothered going upstairs.

The police found absolutely nothing except a single set of bike tracks leading from our window to the cul-de-sac behind our house. No one in the area saw or heard anything...and people were actually home. Some were even out in their yards. They left no fingerprints (at least not that the police could find) or blood samples or anything else we can use to find out who did it. We have no way of finding the person who did this.

I packed up all my video game stuff and DVD sets and sent it off to a friend's house, not just so this person doesn't take any of it, but so it's not damaged when my room becomes their next target. If this burglar took car keys, he/she is planning on coming back when they're in a pinch and trying to swipe our cars. Next time this person is here (because I have absolutely no doubt that this person will be back), I'm sure they'll go upstairs this time and take whatever they can find. I'm sure my computer monitor will be next because it's identical to the one they took from my parents. I was also lucky in that I backed up my entire hard drive only yesterday (bought an external one on sale from Best Buy and backed everything up) and I've now sent that off for safekeeping, too, so multiple copies of my novel exist in various places. I can live without a lot of things, but it would kill me to lose all of the work on that novel permanently. We took our money and other valuables down to my father's church.

Milwaukee's police force is horrible. It took them well over an hour and a half just to get here, both of these times, and when we ask what else we can do to prevent this from happening, they don't have any suggestions. And they're so understaffed that they don't patrol the area, looking for suspicious activity. They don't even recommend getting an alarm system because they know they're not able to respond to it in a timely fashion.

The one thing I've been able to glean about this person is that they're physically small (maybe even a kid), they're desperate for money (maybe even druggies needing their "fix"), they're obsessed with our house (probably because they got that $1,000 last year and now think we're THE place to hit), and they know they're not going to get caught so they just keep coming back, getting bolder, and taking whatever they want. And if they can't get it, they get angry and are now obviously moving on to destroying things. Personally, I think they're pissed that we blocked their "perfect" entry route by putting in the glass block windows. And angry, desperate, obsessed, and determined is a bad far as I'm concerned, it leads to one terrifying place: murder, if necessary, and massive destruction (maybe even arson) if they can't get what they want. Human beings are capable of a lot of horrible things, and in this city, where people get killed at gas stations just for their shoes, clearly no one is safe from it anymore. I would put nothing past this person anymore, not if they came back twice in a week and a half. And that makes me fear not only for my own life, but for my parent's lives.

I don't know what to do. I don't want to live in a world this ****ed up anymore. Life isn't supposed to be like this. Everything about Earth (and humanity) is falling apart at the seams, even the weather. I have no idea why God is letting this happen, without exacting justice from this creep. I'm not suicidal, but I'm also having a hard time seeing the good in anything anymore, the point to it. And to think that I'm only 28 and am supposed to have a nice, long life ahead of me. What's the point of it when there's no world worth living in anymore? Every day it's getting worse, and nothing's happening to change it. I'm afraid it's going to take something catastropic for people to realize this way of life isn't working and actually do something to change it, to fix everything that's gone wrong.

There is so much wrong with everything nowadays. People have lost the ability to be human. All we want to do is earn a decent living for ourselves by working hard. How do we escape this insanity and evil? I don't know. I feel completely helpless. I feel defeated. I feel lost. I feel exhausted. I feel devastated. I'm scared. I have a lot of vacation days left this summer that I need to take off, and I'm afraid to take any of them and be at home alone because I don't know how to defend myself if worst came to worst.

The last time this happened, it hit me hard. It took until the middle of last week before I started recovering from it. This time, though...I just don't know how I'm going to manage even that. It hasn't even sunk in yet. Even last time I was beginning to question my sanity and my ability to handle bad things that happened...and now this happens. Again. And I'm becoming even more paranoid than before.

What is the purpose my being alive? I wouldn't exist unless there was a reason, right? What am I supposed to do? Am I doing something wrong and being punished? Is the Universe/God trying to tell me something? Do I need to change something? Am I supposed to be doing something else and this is a sign to be doing it? But what? We're working on moving as fast as we can, but there's a lot of work here that needs to be done yet before we can do that.

Is there any place in the world that hasn't been touched by the United States' pure selfishness, corruptness, and obsession with monetary and physical goods? Where a human life is maybe still valued, where other people's possessions aren't yours for the taking? Because I really, really want to move there, even if it means becoming a hermit for the rest of my life. How about Canada? How good/bad are things there? Or England? Seriously. Right now I'll consider anything.

I guess I'd better start focusing solely on that novel and forget everything else until it's done. I need to have it in workable condition and off to someone I can trust soon so that, in the event that I don't live long enough to finish what started all those years ago, maybe someone else can at least make sure that whatever is supposed to happen with it can happen. Because right now, that's the only "legacy" I'm afraid I may ever be able to leave.

And please, dear friends, if you believe in a higher being, please say a prayer for my family and our safety. I'm trying desperately not to lose faith, but I tell you, senseless things like this make it easy to see how people can question the existence of God.
smb814: (Default)
So, on top of an already absolutely awful semester, wherein work has been insane, I've struggled on and off for months with depression and self-doubts and general feelings of worthlessness, and life has just generally sucked, big time (e.g. my dad being in a car accident two weeks ago with a school one was hurt, the car is still drivable, and we're getting a nice amount of money from the bus company, but it still sucked), today our house was broken into. Again. By the exact same Friendly Neighborhood Thief (FNT) as the one who broke in last year.

They used the same method (of course, this time they had to completely unscrew the plexiglass on the window before they could get in, which must have taken, oh, a rather extensive amount of time unless they had a power drill). They left no tracks or prints. They stole the exact same thing (although this time, they only got about $200 worth of cash and maybe two credit cards that we've already reported stolen as opposed to the $1,000 worth of cash they got last year -- ha!). They didn't touch anything else.

So, yeah. Deja vu in the worst possible way. Nice feelings of rage and violation and helplessness and frustration at how messed up life and people nowadays are abound.

On the bright side, we finally got to meet some of our neighbors tonight. They really are quite nice. On the down side, we're thinking the only way to stop any future thefts by our FNT, now that our house is apparently marked as an "easy target," is to either get a really big dog or move. The cops said there's nothing else we can do. Hopefully our FNT was disappointed with the amount he/she got this time compared to last time and won't bother coming back, but I'm not holding my breath.

And here I'd been on such a nice, Pirates of the Caribbean high since seeing #3 on Sunday. *sighs*


May. 2nd, 2006 10:11 am
smb814: (Default)
So, I had a nice long post nearly typed up yesterday afternoon dealing with overarching themes/premises in fiction that I'm a sucker for and an analysis of my favorite shows/games/books/movies/etc. to see how they measured up on that "theme scale." Then, shortly before I could finish it, I got a call from my mom, who'd just arrived home from work.

Our house was broken into sometime yesterday while we were all at work.

Needless to say, I dropped everything and went home...and the situation we found was rather bizarre, to put it lightly.

The thief broke in through a basement window along a sheltered (i.e. lots of trees along it so no one else could see him/her/them) side of the house. They broke through the bar over the window, and the glass itself went flying, oh, a good 15, 20 feet away from the window itself. They stepped down onto a refrigerator and went upstairs into my parents' bedroom. They rifled through some stuff on my mom's dresser, then went to my dad's dresser. They took all the change he had sitting out (which was a lot), all the rolls of pennies he had lying out, and about $1,000 worth of cash he had lying toward the top of his top drawer (money I had paid them for rent in the house and for the trip to Nashville, along with grocery money and other money my grandmother had given my dad not long ago). We're not sure if they took one of our credit cards, too, because they messed up the top drawer so much -- we thought they had taken two (both of which we immediately canceled, not that there was anything charged on them), but we found the MasterCard, so we're not sure yet if the Visa will turn up. They must have then left through the same window they crawled in through.

Which all sounds normal, right? Well, the window itself that they broke in through is tiny -- seriously. Not even 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide. There's a pit in front of the window that makes it very hard to maneuver into the window itself -- everyone who looked at it couldn't believe ANYONE had gotten in through there unless they were an acrobat or contortionist. The policeman found a footprint on top of the refrigerator that they said looked pretty small (I didn't see it before my parents cleaned up the basement, so I can't corroborate, but I'll trust a policeman when it comes to judgment on those kinds of things), leading them to think it was a small kid. Other than that, we found no trace evidence -- no blood, no fingerprints, no dirt/footprints, nada. We had a (loud) radio on in the living room (which we leave on all the time to deter thefts, and yes, you can hear it from anywhere inside the house), too, but that obviously didn't stop them.

But here's the kicker. They rifled through the bottom drawer in my dad's dresser, but missed all our trip money (several hundred dollars' worth...I'd say at least $500). They also missed all my mom's cash from my grandmother (another several hundred dollars' worth) which wouldn't have been hard to find on her dresser. They didn't touch any of our electronic stuff; no one touched our VCRs, TV, CD player, CDs, DVD player, nothing. My dad had at least $300 worth of scanners sitting right below the dresser that weren't touched. And, heck, whoever it was never even went upstairs to my room, where I had $140 worth of cash sitting out on a shelf right by the door, somewhere you'd have to be blind to miss. They didn't touch my Game Boy, Playstation, video games, DVDs, or CDs. They didn't even touch my digital camera, which was sitting right by the door -- there's no way they could have gone upstairs and missed any of that. And other than the basement window, they didn't damage anything.

It had to be a kid who did it (Joy's guessing it was something along the lines of a kid daring another kid to do it), but the sheer distance the glass flew in the basement was just...weird. No kid could have had the strength to make it go halfway across the basement, and even if he had a baseball bat, there's no swinging room in that pit by the window to get any oomph behind it! The fact that they missed so much easy-to-find stuff, too, was bizarre. Were they afraid, because the radio was on, that someone was home somewhere in the house, so when they found a good chunk of money, they took that and bolted? Was it a kid who was being told by a teen/adult what to do who didn't know any better? Anyone who got into the basement HAD to have heard the radio. No other windows were touched (even the normal-sized window directly above the window they broke in through, which would have been far easier to get into and out of), and both the front door and the main door we use were still dead-bolted.

We were extremely lucky that no one was hurt and there was no major damage inside the house, but the pieces of it just don't add up or make sense. Why THAT window, not just smash through an easier one that was just as "sheltered" as the basement one? Why get that far into the house (touching nothing in the living room or kitchen, which they had to go through to get to the bedroom), only to leave so much easy-to-take stuff behind, including some not-difficult-to-find money? Why not even go upstairs to see what was easy to take from my room? I'm definitely not complaining that they didn't touch my stuff, but...either the person was merely scoping the place out for a future visit (which the policemen say is unlikely), they only needed a couple hundred dollars in cash and left when they found what they were looking for (how very nice and considerate of them ), they were interrupted or afraid someone was home and wanted to get out ASAP, or they were stupid and/or just following someone else's directions about what to do. If they knew we weren't home, why not take more? If they thought someone was home, why go upstairs in the first place?

I don't get it. It's just weird. And in one sense, it really is hilarious how much stuff they missed. In another, it's creepy and disturbing and worrying and I'm lucky I got ANY sleep last night after all the late-night excitement.

On the bright side, we now have police photos of our house in the event that someone ever REALLY breaks in and steals our stuff so we have proof we owned it. We also were reassured by the policemen that we were doing everything right to burglar-proof our house; it's not like we were broadcasting to everyone an invitation to come and break into our house. We'll probably get glass blocking put in place of the basement windows, which will be a heck of a lot harder to bust through.

And all this coming on a day that a number of us were discussing, at work, how this was the Week From Hell because it's the end of the semester, when things are about as crazy as they can get, and we were apologizing and forgiving each other in advance for any bitchiness or snippiness we happen to display during the rest of the week (amongst other bizarre occurrences that I've heard happened yesterday from others at work, like a tree falling through a person's deck and someone's cat deciding to throw up all over the place). Hopefully it was just a 'yesterday' thing and the rest of the week will be fine. Hopefully.

If anyone can explain any of this to me, I'm all ears. But in the meantime, I have a ton of work to do (course evaluations have started flying in fast and furiously), so I'm off to do that and ponder exactly what goes through people's minds when they decide to break into a house.

August 2012

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