Friday, July 2, 2010

Crime Happens

By Heather

Crime happens. A lot. Though, honestly, it hasn’t happened much at all in my life (admittedly I’ve been really blessed). And though it hasn’t necessarily been in my life, it’s been on my mind since I was wee little. I loved reading the paper, poring over crime stories. It was like I was destined to write mysteries or something.

I’m still completely fascinated by crime. The psychology behind it. The desperation. The fear. The violation. The aftermath. How perfect to weave all that into a fictional novel.

But when it’s reality? A whole different kind of story.

Last weekend, my son’s car was broken into in front of our house. In our quiet little suburban neighborhood where TPing someone’s house is a big deal. Someone broke his passenger window, stole his Ipod, his GPS system, a phone (but left his wallet because--LOL--for once it was a good thing he had no money in it.)

In the grand scheme of things, it’s a small potatoes kind of crime. No one was hurt and insurance covered the window at no charge (but the contents weren’t worth the cost of the deductible unfortunately). To know that someone was just out front… It’s scary, and I’d much rather go back living in my idyllic little world where crime only happens in newspapers.

Whoever broke into the car also broke into 14 other cars in the area that night. No one has been caught, and I wonder if they realize just how much they stole that night. Things that aren’t covered by insurance or bought at a store. Things like peace of mind and a sense of security. The sad thing is I doubt it, and if they did--they probably don't care...

Anyone been through this kind of thing before? Any tips on dealing with it?

23 comments:

Allison said...

That actually happened to my husband a few weeks ago, only they did take his wallet and backpack. Not only did we feel violated, but we were leaving on vacation 5 days later so had to frantically get everything replaced in a short time frame. We think it's the same person/people who have twice stolen stuff out of our garage when the door was open. Turns out several other people in our neighborhood have had their cars broken into in the last few months.
It just makes me boil that people think they have the right to steal from others. I only hope karma comes along and kicks them where it really hurts SOON.

Heather Webber said...

I'm aa fan of karma, too, Allison. I can't imagine having to replace everything in five days. Hello, stress!

tonya kappes said...

YUCK!! A few years ago before we moved, we lived near a big interstate and a car theft ring was going around to neighborhoods and stealing cars, jumping on the interstate and never to be seen again. It was certain cars...not my 1994 mini van...DANG!

Heather Webber said...

LOL, T! Did you leave the doors unlocked and everything?

Laineshots said...

Hugs, Heather. I've had those minor but devastating brushes with crime too a few times. Takes awhile to get your mental and emotional balance to be able to deal with them, but you're doing well--and I'll bet you use this experience to make your books even better!

Leann Sweeney said...

When we went to one of our kid's events-dance or band or something--someone broke in and stole 3 things: my daughter's new "boom box" our VCR and my sewing machine. We called the police. Not really worth their trouble and here I was expecting fingerprinting and everything. My only satisfaction was that they forgot to take the presser foot for the sewing machine. That reduced the "pawn shop value" I'm sure. Grrrrrr.

Sheila Connolly said...

When we lived in the Bay Area in California, our house was broken into three times (I think--I may be blotting a couple out). Once we almost interrupted them in the act, when we came home to find our television sitting on our front steps. We attributed it to a "bad kid" in the neighborhood, but that may have been a rationalization, and better than thinking we were the target of roaming thugs. It certainly does make you feel violated.

I also had my wallet with passport stolen from my hotel room in London--the thief climbed in through a window (on the third floor!). The only good part was the delightful Scottish bobby (yes, complete with hat) who came by to take my statement. He was very sympathetic.

Rural View said...

We've had our home broken into twice, once in a Chicago suburb and once in Conn. The first time apparently I walked in the front door as they walked out the back with our TV and VCR. Instead of going to a neighbor's to call the cops, I immediately ran to my office to make sure my computer and book in progress were safe. :D In Conn. once again I got home while they were in the house. That time one of the things lost was my mother's cheap Timex watch. She had died a few months earlier and the watch meant nothing to anyone but me. That was awful.

Lover of Books said...

I am so sorry that happened. My hubby and I always make sure we keep everything inside just for that very reason. Your best bet besides getting the window fixed is to make sure you listen any time he needs to talk. Writing stuff helps me maybe it will help him?

Krista

Dru said...

I believe in karma and I like to think that the idiot who mugged me got what they deserve.

The best tip is to move on..don't let them win.

signlady217 said...

In high school my purse was stolen right off the bleachers (while I was playing ping pong). It was found shortly later in the trash can. The only thing taken was the cash, around $30. And they never found out who took it. For me it was really bad because that was the money from my very first check from my very first job. :( And sometimes it still gives me a bad feeling in my gut when I think about it. So far, that's the only real crime I've personaly had to deal with. Hope it stays that way!

Dave Chaudoir said...

Heather, This happened to me at a parking garage in Indiana a year and a half ago. It was a friend's car actually, and MY briefcase. Nothing of much value...I'm sure they thought it was a laptop. But it was my favorite Eddie Bauer satchel bag which I've been unable to replace, and also my jump drive with lots of important documents on it, and my checkbook, which I just closed out. A few months later the county prosecutor sent me a letter but there were no suspects and nothing ever happened. I just had to block it out of my mind and actually have been quite successful in doing so. This too shall pass. But it sucks.

WonderBunny said...

I had my car broken into in my work parking lot. I have since had it broken into three other times. Once they attempted to get the stereo but since it didn't have a face plate, they couldn't. This was in the alley way near my apartment. Next time it was in a parking lot of a restraurant. They did get the stero. The last time, since I hadn't replaced the stereo, they just broke in and moved my seat. That time it was in front of my apartment. The window was only broken the first time and after that I guess it was easy to get into through a window or something.

I sold that car and haven't had any problems...until my bicycle got stolen from the university campus and that was probably more annoying then my car.

Weirdest thing stolen: My new seat cover that I hadn't put on my seat yet. Woo hoo $15 walmart special! Also, my bashed up and also super cheap bicycle helment.

Most annoying thing stolen: my emergency car kit...was stolen twice.

Somewhere this is someone with a flare and a bicycle helment that belong to me.

WonderBunny said...

Pardon my spelling errors. It is hard to reread to make sure everything it typed correctly in these little boxes and for some reason this computer doesn't use spell check on the internet.

Aimstark said...

Sorry to hear about the break in. There is a sense of violation in these situations can be hard to reconcile. I deal through humor. No really!

Let's see, the first time I was a victim of a crime I walked in (well swung really since I was on crutches) my back sliding glass doors to see someone casually packing up my stereo. It was about 11:00 am and this guy was actually taking the time to coil up the speaker wire. I shouted and he grabbed the turntable and ran. So did I and I had the advantage of crutches. It's amazing how fast you can on those things!

Anyway, I got close enough to not only get a good look at the guy but I got the first have of his license plate, make and model of his car...I was pissed but a little smug and figured I'd nail this guy.

I went back into my apartment, called 911 and started to clean up the things that you just don't want the police to see in your home. Suffice it to say I had a bit of a "wild" youth.

While I was doing this my roommate came strolling out of room having just woken up and asked what was up. No really! She had slept through the whole thing.

The police came, told me I'd done a good job cleaning up but could I please but the bong in a cupboard somewhere out of sight and took my statement and asked me to come to the station to look at mug shots.

I went down there and went through the books. Every time I stopped and noted someone they'd ask "Is that the guy?" and I'd say "No, he's just someone I know from school" or "No, he lives in my complex" or No, he's a friend of mine" and once it was "No, I dated him but it didn't work out". After the 6th time we were all cracking up. One of the officers shook his head and said that this is something you'd see on a sitcom. At the time I agreed with him but now, a few decades later, I'd say this is something you'd read in a cozy!

Anyway, you have to try to find the humor where you can and you have to remember that while this was a violation, no one was physically harmed (although if it was me and if I ever found the person that stole my iPod loaded with my music and playlists there would be a good chance of some bodily harm action going on!)

Linda Leszczuk said...

Sorry, Heather. That's always a bummer. We've had our cars broken into a few times - windows and/or locks broken, stereos pried loose, misc. stuff taken, etc. Some idiot even tried to pry open the trunk of my son's Camero to get his speakers (unsuccessfully). My most memorable has to be when they stole our old station wagon...then threw it back. :-) Actually, it appeared a homeless family had lived in it for about a week, using the heater to keep warm until the gas ran out. There were diapers and such in it when they found it. I felt so bad - I would have rather they kept the wagon and I would have given them gas money.

Laurissa said...

It's definitely a difficult thing to go through. Especially as a teenager.
I was held up at gunpoint when I was a teenager and working at our local Wendy's.

The robber came through the front counter door that led to the back office. He was wearing a bandana with only his eyes showing. That was his big mistake, though.

THe grillman at that time recognized his very distinct eyes and that he had managed that very same Wendy's several years prior and the grillman worked there at that time. He also had a distinct voice that the grillman also recognized.

We all went down to pick him out of a line-up and he was prosecuted.

Sometimes when I recall this I'm shocked that I didn't lose "total control" when the gun was pointed at me, but just cried and did as I was told.

Unfortunately, it's a fact of our lives, and has made me extremely wary. It's sad, but was a wake-up call for me as a teenager that life is not always safe.

Heather Webber said...

Some of these stories are so scary. Guns? I'd have keeled over. Humor is always a good coping mechanism--you know, once the shock wears off.

Babs said...

I had my car broken into once and then been robbed at the office I was a manager of. Not a pretty thing seeing a gun pointed at you and your co workers for $50.00 this was 10 years ago funny I went into law enforcement that next month ha.

Heather Webber said...

Law enforcement, Babs? At least then you're the one with the gun!

BJ said...

Yes, this happened to me several years ago. Luckily I didn't have anything in my car, and I don't remember that anything was actually stolen. They just broke a window or two. One time my license plate was stolen, but the neighborhood patrol officer was driving by & noticed a teenager wearing a big bulky coat in the middle of summer. The officer asked the kid if he'd mind taking off his coat, the kid agreed and when he did my plate fell to the ground. He put the teen in the back of his car, ran my tag & found out I was just down the street. About 7 in the morning the doorbell rings with the officer telling me what happened. The kid was forced to apologize, he was very embarrassed & hopefully learned his lesson. I live in a very quiet neighborhood so it was quite a shock when both of these incidents happened. It does make you put your guard up a little more & you start noticing cars out of place or people in the area that don't seem to belong. Good luck Heather & hopefully nothing like this happens again.

Valerie Consoer said...

Break-ins are a big deal. Several years ago, my car was broken in to. I was going through a rough patch emotionally and when the apartment complex manager called to tell me that the maintenance men found my car had been broken into, it felt like my world was crashing all around me. The car I was driving at the time was a "beater" that didn't look like it'd be a good one to break into. The doors were left unlocked, but the thieves found it necessary to break out one of the windows anyway. They stole the brand new stereo my dad had bought for me as a birthday present. There was glass everywhere and wires that had been snipped. I know how you and your son feel, Heather. It happens so much that people don't think much about them anymore, but it means a lot to the people it happens to. I hope they catch the morons that did this to you guys!

Babs said...

LOL Heather yes, law enforcement till Ethan came along then quit and been home ever sense :).