Dec 21, 2014

Holiday Devils & Angels

I don't normally post "real life" stuff here because there isn't usually anything I think my readers would be interested in reading. But no matter how much hemming and hawing I've been doing on this over the past few days, it always comes back to a little voice that keeps telling me to post. Maybe it will be therapeutic for me to get it out there, despite how many people I've told the story already. 

When I got home Thursday night, I found my home had been broken into and burgled. I could have said robbed, but let's face it, unless you're talking about Hamburglar, you generally don't get to use any form of the word "burgle" in daily conversation.

The whole thing was bizarre and surreal. I came in through the front door, which was still locked, so I had no real indication from outside anything was amiss. Just inside our front door, we have a coat closet which was open with several things on the floor. We have two cats, we don't leave closet doors open.

The brain is a funny thing. Even subconsciously, it tries to connect the dots for you in a way that makes the most sense, that fits with your perception of what should be. As I came around the corner to the hall to the bedrooms, I could see the two doors we normally keep closed were open and the lights were on. I thought somehow, even though her car wasn't here, that my wife had come home early. It wasn't until I went down the hall and could see in the rooms that I realized things were very wrong.

This is what I saw in our bedroom. One of the windows leading to the fenced in yard was also wide open and that's when the really ugly light bulb lit up. We have a small house (in fact, we're the only one floor house on our street) and I had my cell phone in my pocket but I went back down the short hall to the living room to grab the house phone to call 911. A: just in case something happened to me while I was on the phone, they'd know where to go. B: when you call 911 from a cell it can take longer to get to your local PD.

After talking to the police and assuring them there was no one in the house (sometimes a small home can be a good thing), I noticed the kitchen.

They (I'm just going to use "they," I have no idea how many people it was) came in through our side door, breaking the door frame, that's what's lying on the floor. These photos were taken while I was waiting for the police to arrive and my wife to come home. When I first saw the door, it was wiiiide open and the outside door, which has one of those pistons on it to close itself, was also open. This is when the real panic set in. Remember when I said we have two cats? They're strictly indoor cats. They're like our kids and it suddenly occurred to me that with the door and the bedroom window open to the world, they might be outside. Luckily, they had both taken refuge under beds in separate rooms.

The bedrooms were tossed, drawers of clothes emptied on the floor. The medicine cabinet doors were open. Things that you might think to hide money in were rifled through. That's the kind of person that did this. They were looking for quick cash and/or drugs and a quick escape. None of the bigger, expensive things were even touched. Which makes it just a little weirder. They were the most polite burglars I've heard of. They easily could have destroyed the house while searching it, knocked things over just because, but they didn't. 

Our third bedroom is sort of my geek cave where I'm typing this from, and there's tons of collectibles that if any of you were robbing this house, you'd probably taken that stuff! On one bookshelf in here is a Darth Vader stein among other Vader collectibles. They took the stein from the shelf, without disturbing anything in front of it, looked inside it, and not finding anything but a General Grievous Pez dispenser, put it down on the chair. 
Didn't throw it on the floor in disgust, they knowingly set it down, no damage.

Having said that, the Grinches did make off with some things that we know of:
My wife's gym bag, which they took the clothes out of and we presume it was used to put other stuff in.
Both of our digital cameras. If you're a frequent visitor, you know how I love to include photos in my posts.
Our years old TomTom GPS. Seriously, they don't even make this model anymore.
A necklace my mom gave to my wife on our wedding day.
My high school class ring, which was extra cool because my dad worked at Josten's and made the ring for me!
A set of 12 Snoopy charm bracelets, complete with display case.
And probably the worst thing (to me at least)...

You see how down inside the closet on the left there's a big empty hole? That's where I was hiding a bag of wrapped Christmas presents for my wife. Yup, almost all the presents I'd gotten for her were taken away in a flash because I put them in a convenient, reusable shopping tote. Screw you, green living! I kid! 

Just between us, they're going to be sorely disappointed when they open those gifts. I can't say what they were because my wife reads the blog, but trust me when I tell you these are not things you could even resell for decent money, much less would want to find out you just stole instead of things that weren't wrapped.

The worst bit of it is being in the house and realizing someone you don't know was in here when you weren't. Totally destroys that sense of comfort and safety you have when you're supposed to be in your safe place from the world.

Anyway...this post is titled Holiday Devils & Angels, so where are the angels?

Sorry, couldn't resist!

Shortly after I posted about this on Facebook, my brother-in-law, who lives about 20 minutes away had hopped in his truck with some tools and spare wood to secure our broken door. You see, kicking a door in kinda makes it unable to be locked shut anymore.

The following day, my immensely kind-hearted sister-in-law started a GoFundMe page to help us pay for our insurance deductible. In two days, the donations have already exceeded what we expect the deductible to be! The donations come from friends, family, and people that we don't even know who are friends with our family members. One of my cousins also gave a rather generous donation. Not to mention the people at my wife's place of work that took up a collection for us!

Whatever money is left over after the deductible will be going towards a security system. 
Or a moat containing sharks with frickin lasers on their heads. 
Maybe both, you can't be too careful.

Despite how terrible the experience has been, it's also been extremely humbling because of these folks. Meanwhile, our local news ran a story about a man in Boston that had a box of Christmas cards with his 8 month old on them stolen from his doorstep (yes, OUTSIDE) and the thief was caught on video.

If you've read this far, I thank you! If you skipped down here, the TL;DR version is it could have been much, much worse and although there are some asshats in this world, there are also people on this planet to balance them out that I could never thank enough for their kindness even if I had all of time to do it.

Things will likely be quiet around here until the new year.
Have a happy and safe holiday season!


  1. This terrible but at lest your cats are safe and no one was hurt Dex.

    1. Absolutely! It could have been much worse, we weren't home and our cats are safe too.

  2. I'm so sorry this happened to you! I'm glad you're looking on the bright side. It's true, things could have been worse. As break-ins go, at least they weren't too destructive. That part about the unbroken Stein that was set down is remarkable. As far as the jewelry goes, you might think about pawn shops. A lot of stolen jewelry ends up there. A friend of mine had some jewelry stolen when her house was burglarized. Her ring turned up later in a local shop and she got it back! Recently, some pawn shops teamed up with the police around here to use a computer program that keeps track of the merchandise that comes into the shop. So the pawn shop makes a record of what comes in and compares notes with the police. Maybe there's something like that where you are? I'm assuming you gave the police an account of what is missing. You never know, you might just get some of it back! You could also call local pawn shops, antique stores, cash-for-gold places, etc. and ask if they had any class rings or necklaces come in lately.

    That's heartening that your family rallied around you guys and helped out so quickly. That's really touching. Weird as this might sound, this is probably about as well as a break-in could go!

    Have a Merry Christmas! :)

    1. The officer that came out said the local pawn shops send a report in to the police every day of the items that come in. I'm not holding my breath. In fact, I'd rather the person be caught and prosecuted than find my stuff.

  3. I am so very sorry , my Friend... My home was broken into last year... they did not take anything... (did around $3,000.oo of damage and trashed the most expensive items of my collection)...
    Try and keep your holiday cheer for the sake of your wife, if for no other reason... our blessings go out to you and her.... glad your cats were OK..

    1. Thank you! We are very lucky they didn't do any additional damage.

  4. Dang, this sucks. But glad it wasn't worse, and that the goodness of others shone through in the end.

    1. Thanks, Eric. We were very fortunate despite the circumstances.

  5. Embarrassed to admit that I just saw this today. This is awful. I hope you guys have been able to move on and I'm glad to hear that the cats were okay.

    1. No worries! I'm more embarrassed to say I skipped the past couple weeks of keeping up with friend's blogs because it was so much to catch up on after 2 weeks!
      But we're doing pretty good and contractors will be coming out to give us a new door soon :D

  6. I'm so sorry this happened, Dex, it is something horrible. I hope the damage isn't irreparable. It seems that the burglar wanted easy cash, maybe for drugs. So eventually, you will continue with your awesome life with your wife and nice family and friends, while that burglar will end up hopeleesly trashed on the street.