Monday, October 03, 2005

Being Burgled

It's taken me a couple of weeks to recover from this experience -- I was physically ill for a couple of days -- nauseous, etc.

I came home one Tuesday at noon -- not my normal routine, but I needed a break after surviving the first couple of weeks of add/drops at school.

The patio door was slightly ajar, which raised a bit of an alarm, since I'm pretty careful about locking doors, checking doors, rechecking doors. I pushed the door open with my toe, and knew right off something was wrong, since the armoire and store room doors were open. "OH NO!" -- ran back to the "Room of Music and Contemplation" (most people would call this a living room) and the computer and printer were gone.

(And in retrospect, I probably shouldn't have gone into the house as soon as I noticed things were amiss -- what if the burglars were still there? Of course, there weren't any cars around.) I went out into the yard, just as one of our retired neighbors pulled up -- they'd been gone all morning and hadn't seen anything. Another retired neighbor emerged -- same thing -- didn't see a thing.

Called the police -- 311 -- someone took the basic info and said that someone would contact us to get us a case number and take fingerprints. Called S. in Ft. Worth -- "You have GOT to come home NOW" -- he was there by 5 p.m.

At some point I went down the hallway -- an old, small tv/vcr was missing from my "clutter" room. All of the drawers in our bedroom had been rifled through, and the canvas baskets in one of the closets had been overturned. Nothing was missing from the bedroom, though -- not even my mother's squash blossom necklace and some other Indian jewelry.

Other things missing -- a larger TV, perhaps 8 years old -- the color was always sort of washed out, and we could never get it adjusted properly; a fax/answering machine that came with a 60+ page manual (which they didn't get) which never worked well -- you could never set the answering machine for 4 rings; a Karcher pressure washer (brand new, with special release fittings added by S.); an old DVD player that we'd never hooked up; and worst of all, my mother's guitar -- a 76 Mossman Great Plains, which needs a lot of expensive work to be playable. (I've already contacted the manufacturer, and need to contact some other repair places, although the one place I had look at it in Austin recommended that we have the manufacturer work on it.)

The police never came that first day, and I was too sick/stunned to care. S. realized a rifle was missing, so I called them the next day and told them that -- they apologized profusely, and S. said someone was at the house within an hour to take fingerprints -- he said they spent more than an hour on forensic stuff.

We did have the serial numbers for the computer, gun, printer, power washer and guitar. I don't care about the other stuff -- in fact, I get a secret joy knowing the hassle they are going to have with the fax machine -- you can't even use it as a printer anymore, since something I did to it the last time messed it up. It was in the storeroom until we had a yard sale.

We're not 100% sure how they got in. I'm so sure that I locked the patio door -- Scott thinks he may have left the kitchen door unlocked (yikes, for two weeks), but I think I would have noticed that. There is a BIG dog door in the kitchen door that we were using for the cats -- the detective said she could crawl through that if she didn't have her belt & gear on. Someone could have reached up through the dog door and gotten the deadbolt key -- in fact, that key was missing, so we rekeyed all the locks. We also put locks on the backyard gates -- someone could still break in if they wanted too, but this will make it a little more difficult. S. made the dog door smaller, too.

The woman we bought the house from told us once, "Oh, there's always people coming in and out the house -- we don't even lock the patio door, and I always keep a key on the kitchen window sill." The first thing we did when we moved in was change the locks, and the first thing we did after the burglary was to have the locks rekeyed.

Well, off to check Craigslist, eBay, pawn shops, etc.

1 comment:

gl. said...

oh, susan! oh, no! well, then, i'm glad you're safe. but it's not a surprise that the horror and anger and violation made you ill. i hope writing about it helped a little -- and may that be the -worst- thing that happens to you for the rest of your life! :)