Thursday, January 18, 2007

We Wuz Robbed

No really, we were.

I took the bus home yesterday from work, because the roads are still too slick to ride my bike. I walk up to the house, and notice the front door is open. That's strange, I think. I go up to the front door, and notice that the deadbolt is extended. That isn't good, I think. I cautiously enter the house, calling out to see if anyone is there. No answer. The door had been kicked open, with part of the door frame and some wood paneling having been torn off and laying half-way down the stairs beyond the foyer. I enter the house, look around--nothing appeared to have been disturbed. Even a pile of mail right beside the door was still there. I call Melissa (who was with the girls at their piano lessons, and had no idea anything had happened), then the police. I investigate the house. No major appliances or electronics missing, no desk drawers rifled through, our passports and checkbook still where we left them. Then I notice a brooch of Melissa's on the floor in the foyer. Ah. I go into the bedroom, and sure enough: her jewelry box is gone. A smash and grab, probably: kick the door in, run inside, grab the jewelry, run for it. Perhaps they knew where to look for the box; perhaps they were even waiting for Melissa to leave, as the time window between her leaving (a little after 4pm) and me arriving home (a little before 5pm) is pretty short. They were evidently moving fast, because about five pieces spilled out of the box; I found them spread out on the walk outside the front door, and I really doubt they fell because the thief/thieves stopped in broad daylight to rifle through the jewelry box.

Melissa’s not much of a jewelry wearer; most of the items in there were more of sentimental value than anything else, having been handed down to her and were rarely worn. Unfortunately, that also means few receipts, and nothing registered. As it turns out, a couple of the recovered pieces were some of the oldest items she owned, like a cameo from her great-grandmother that she’s always talked about getting reset as necklace. Still, the thief/thieves made off with her sapphire wedding ring, and some nice pearls, and a dozen or so sets of earrings that she really liked, and so forth. (I had my wedding ring on; the only other item in her box that belonged to me was an old Mickey Mouse watch.) The police, after checking to see if any medicines or drugs were taken--which was their first suspicion--needed us to put a price on it all for their report; we figured somewhere around $2000 in original cost, though I doubt anyone could get that much for it all at a pawnshop. The odds of apprehending those responsible and recovering the stolen items is, of course, basically nil. There was a nondescript footprint on the door where it was kicked in, and no evidence that anything else was touched, meaning there's next to nothing for the detectives go on. As the police said, not unkindly, there’s really no "solvability" here. Into the circular file it will likely go.

I suppose I should feel violated or angry or frustrated; mostly, I just feel sad. A lot of those pieces taken Melissa had meant to pass on to our daughters, as they grew old enough. There were a lot of memories to be found in that jewelry box, and while doesn't seem terribly down about the crime, I suspect she is, on the inside. Of course, it could have been far, far worse, and you read about those far, far worse things every day, so I should feel grateful or relieved too. And I suppose I do feel a little bit of that, or at least did once I was certain there hadn't been anyone at home when the break-in took place. But mostly, it's just a sense that these things happen, along with the odd and equally sad realization that while they shouldn't happen, they do, and I'm apparently accepting of that. Perhaps I'm moving through the stages of some rite of passage for new homeowners? I also wonder if we ever would have suffered a break-in if we'd stayed in small towns. Too late to do anything about that now, though.

The girls were somewhat frightened by the news, but we took them out to dinner, and they got over it. The insurance, after we get past the $1000 deductible, just might cover some of our losses and damage, but it still might not be worth filing, given how it may affect our rates. Still, even if does all end up being unrecoverable and out of pocket, of all the ways your home could be invaded, this way is probably to be preferred. As for how it'll change us--well, I'll be putting in a better deadbolt next time, that's for sure.


Jacob T. Levy said...

Oh! How awful. Glad you're all safe and that it wasn't worse in any of the many ways it could have been, but still. So sorry.

Laura said...

OOooh. Major bummer. And terribly scary. I hate that they watched your routine enough to know when to break in.

Nate said...

Yeah -- we're looking at buying a home in D.C. right now and I definitely have fears about this (and worse) happening... it reminds me of why so many people do, in fact, prefer small towns.

My sympathies, man.


Anonymous said...

Though the rise of meth has hit small towns pretty hard.

Anonymous said...

My condolences.

Anonymous said...

Hm, I live in the city of Philadelphia in what one landlord called an "urban frontier." While car break-ins are a problem, at least until they caught the guy, we haven't had much of a problem with home break-ins because, quite frankly, why mess around with our neighborhood when you can go steal stuff from rich people. That said, there is a bit of a home break-in problem currently. 3 break-ins in a couple of block radius, all back-door or basement window entry, all took only what they (probably he) could easily grab. I used to worry much more about this kind of stuff when I lived in rural NM, because if someone came around meaning to do harm then, they were going to mean business. And the drug situation was just out of control even then 10+ years ago.