Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Crime Beat

House RemodelI often have a hard time sleeping. I go through strange cycles where I'm up at 2 or 3 am and can't relax and the last few nights I've been restless. The house is ghostly in the windy fall nights with the protective visqueen flapping and big black holes where the windows should be gaping like eye sockets. We're rather open to the elements and anyone could walk right in if they had a ladder and some initiative and knowing this makes me anxious.

Last night I tossed and turned as the wind picked up, whipping through the open plywood walls and through gaps in the plastic making an eerie whistling sound and flapping the edges in angry crunches. Several times I woke up swearing that I'd heard something drop on the hard main floor below (where the children were sleeping) but after the second time of getting up to investigate I finally decided I was crazy and paranoid and forced myself to ignore the noise so that the rest of the night I drifted in and out of vivid dreams.

The alarm went off at 5:30. I was up and fixing breakfast, getting people out the door when Andrew came in with a dazed look saying that his car had been broken into during the night. Both of our cars are normally parked in the garage but with the construction we've had to park them on the street which I don't like to do but we live in a safe neighborhood and the chances of something happening are slim.

Well apparently the odds came around to us because someone smashed the window on his Ford Escort ($250 to fix, more than the whole car is worth) and made a mess rummaging around. They took his sunglasses and his remote garage door opener but left my car untouched. All we could figure is that maybe they thought my car had an alarm because I had my GPS system hooked up on the dashboard so maybe it looked too dangerous to risk.

Taking the garage door opener scared me more than breaking the car window but as luck would have it when our contractor had moved and reinstalled the tension rod on our garage door something happened so that it stopped working properly and our door wouldn't open or close. I hadn't got around to calling the repair man to see what was up because we were parking on the street anyway and the garage was too dirty to walk through. The thief must have tried opening the garage door only to find it didn't work.

Andrew filed a police report but it wasn't until dinner last night when the doorbell rang that we got really nervous.

It was a neighbor up the street. He was coming by to kindly let us know that his car had been broken into the night before, that his sunglasses and garage door opener had been stolen and that the thief had opened his garage door--all of which he'd discovered at 6 am when he woke to find the door wide open. He was going through the neighborhood warning people and in the course of visiting homes had discovered several other people who had had the exact thing happen. Car smashed, garage door remote stolen, garage door open.

I figure it must have been a couple kids (probably boys age 16-18) without much supervision who thought they'd make some trouble and freak people out. Well it worked. We're officially freaked out. Luckily there's only one more night before the windows go in and we won't be quite so vulnerable but even with that we're not exactly a fortress here, if anyone wanted to get in they certainly could, all it would take is a smashed window.

I hadn't thought the police would be interested but now knowing that it was a string of vandalism and thefts I'm hoping they are paying attention. According to Andrew by opening the garage door they crossed the line from vandalism to breaking and entering and when one is breaking and entering with the occupants inside the home it's automatically a felony.

So while I'm having trouble sleeping tonight somewhere in this city there are a couple teenage boys who thought they'd have some fun and instead have got themselves involved in at least five felony counts of breaking and entering. If the police are looking for them I'm guessing they won't find them at the local MENSA convention.

***

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Sponsored by Dimples and Dandelions--for the Serena and Lily Bedding Collection for Children

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64 comments:

Jeana said...

Oh my word! I'm glad everyone is okay, but yeah, I would be freaked out too.

Robin said...

Yikes! I'd be pretty freaked out too. I hope they catch them and I'm glad nothing else was taken.

Here's to good solid walls and windows going in very soon.

chelle said...

Eeeps how unnerving. I hope they catch the perp soon :)

JanMary said...

Glad everyone was safe, but I am sure it made you very uneasy.

I am sure you are even more ready for all the work to be over.

t said...

I don't even lock my car doors anymore. I had that happen once. If they want in they'll just break the window (as you know) and then I'm out more money. Plus, when they're stealing your radio they're not very gentle. My wiring was never the same after that. BTW--you wouldn't want to share what part of town you are. I'm eastside and was just wondering if I should be on the look out.

calicobebop said...

How scary! I hope they come down hard on those kids and teach them a lesson. Sometimes I think that the youth of America tends to live inside a video game where there are no consequences for their actions.

Edi said...

Sorry to hear about the car break-in and remote thievery... a couple of months ago our car was broken into...thankfully they did not smash the window...my dh was pretty sure the car was locked the night before. His MP3 player was stolen and I think some change from the console. Not much in value was stolen - but it's still creepy knowing someone was that close to us and took stuff w/out us knowing about it.

We did call the police - not b/c I figured they could do anything, just wanted them to be aware in case other people started calling in w/similar break-ins.

One other time our car was broken into and that time the window was smashed (at our old inner-city church we attended) - after that we stopped locking the door and drove our older car.

Trixie said...

oh my! I would be unnerved too. I hope you don't have anymore instances of this. In their interest of getting stuff, I'm not sure kids realize how much they scare people.

Maddy said...

It's grim and no mistake, but most probably as you say teens with inadequate supervision.

Of all the things they could 'steal,' go figure.

Sounds to me as if there are some parents out there who are about to have a very nasty surprise.

Oh and keep your eyes open, it's just the time of year for one of those stands on the side of the road, where kids sell lemonade, or maybe a collection of sunglasses.

Best wishes

Flea said...

I second the hope that they're caught soon! Glad your construction is coming along. Will your husband sleep by the door tonight, baseball bat in hand?

~TAMY 3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

Michelle I know you will feel better and safer after this is all done. I sure hope they put an end to this soon for the sake of your whole neighborhood. I sleep like you do, every little noise... you just worry - it's part of being a mom.

lifemoreabundant said...

I think the unfortunate thing for those adolescent felons is that the chances are their parents will try to blame their decisions on: television, their friends, the school system, and society in general, and they will learn that committing a felony wasn't really their fault. sigh.

Joyful Days said...

That is awful and very unsettling. I am so glad nothing worse happened--this was bad enough!

A few blocks from here there was a rash of car vandalism which escalated to breaking into a few homes (no one there at the time).

Needless to say, I am a bit edgy. And it doesn't help when the husband goes out of town and I am solo parenting. Ugh.

I can also relate to the difficulty sleeping issue, although usually I am unable to go to sleep, not up too early.

Glad you were okay and that your garage door opener system was broken.

Stay safe!

Julie

The Source said...

If you find you can't sleep again tonight, maybe you could sit up with an air horn. If you see them messing around, scare the you-know-what out of them. And, umm, alert the neighbors in the process.

I'm glad nothing more was taken and that they didn't come into your home. Be safe!

One Mom said...

We've had cars broken into 3 times and our home once (while we were on vacation) and there is always a sense of violation. If we leave our car in the driveway, I always remove any documents, keys, door openers, cash, cameras, etc that might attract trouble. It's disconcerting to be so paranoid but then I feel that I have at least eliminated a few of those vague imaginings that plague me at the 3:00am worry sessions!

Soon your home will return to normal and you will feel safer!

Katherine said...

I wouldn't have thought that sunglasses would be a big thing to steal. But stealing the garage door openers, now that's scary. I guess you and your neighbors will all be reprogramming the garage door openers today.

I'm glad I didn't read this yesterday. My garage door opened randomly last night. It does that periodically, so I went down and closed it, but then had trouble getting back to sleep.

Christie O. said...

oh migoodness that's scary! i'm so sorry -- i'm the paranoid type. this stuff keeps me up at night too. we had our car broken into once and someone tried to jimmy our fence at night once (we found it broken) and that's right next to our room! so i get freaked out at the slightest little noise! i hope they catch them soon so you can have peace of mind!!!!

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

This happened to my car last Christmas.

When the entire neighborhood was having problems with garage door openers being stolen, police eventually figured out that the teen felons were looking for garages with extra refrigerators.

You know, the kind that are filled with cold beer in football season?

Glad you are safe.

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

That almost sounds like if it isn't kids, it's someone deciding which houses to come back and rob...so I'm really glad the police know about it, and that your garage door opener didn't work!

Years ago, some thieves poisoned several dogs in my MIL's neighborhood, including her sweet little puppy. People talked, and it was discovered that several dogs had died. They alerted the police, who sent out an unmarked car to case the neighborhood, and caught buglers with a moving van robbing one of those same houses. I'm guessing they were planning on hitting the whole street while folks were at work.

Cuddle Cottage said...

I'd be freaked out too. I had the back window of my car smashed several years back and it turns out it was by a group of young kids on a neighborhood car window-smashing spree. It shows such a blatant disregard of someone else's property. They caught the kids, all of who were minors except one. The kids had to each write a letter of apology and pay for the costs of repairs for several car windows. My guy took several months of installments and I never once felt bad. I was a struggling student, quite devastated by repair bills that cost almost as much as my car. Plus I hoped his punishment taught him a valuable lesson!

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh gosh, I am so glad your garage door was broken!! I am glad everyone is ok, too. We live in a very safe area, but I always keep the doors locked and our garage door down during the day- you just never know!

Steph

verygoodyear said...

It's really creepy that you woke up in the middle of the night with a paranoid feeling... and ended up being justified. I really hope that these vandals are caught and your neighbourhood can recover from this violation :[

Suzi Dow said...

Ditto here! Glad all are okay. Things can be replaced.

Scribbit said...

I guess I want to assume it's just a bunch of kids messing around because to imagine that's it's a gang of thieves casing houses for future robberies (which crossed my mind) is too scary to contemplate. And yes t I would let you know where I was located if you were to email me. I'm not going to list it here in the comments though.

tjhirst said...

Your instinct was right. In one way that is comforting. I guess, but it doesn't make for calm sleeping, does it.

Pencil Writer said...

Goosebumps. Hope the police round up those wayward punks and teach 'em a thing or two. Do you wonder if they had a quota of sun glasses and garage door openers? What kind of electronic games do you suppose they're used to playing? Like you said, "creepy." Hope you have no further weirdness in your neighborhood to deal with.

Shannon said...

Your intuition was right on. It most likely is an unruly kid or two. But I wouldn't be able to sleep easy regardless either. Glad you're all okay.

Marie N. said...

I'm sorry to hear about the crime spree. I'm glad you all are unharmed. Frustrating shame about the car, though. Love to see them get caught.

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

Aack! I would definitely be freaked out. Not that we do anything for that not to happen. We live so far out of town in our own little valley we never lock our doors, but sometimes I wonder if we should.

I hope the police are able to find who did it all!

Rachel C. said...

Yikes!! I'm glad that your garage door wasn't working properly!

One of my neighbors had their golf clubs stolen right out of their garage in broad daylight. But they had left their garage door open. They had gone inside for literally 2 minutes and come back outside!

Leslie said...

I would be a basket case!!! I'm glad everybody is OK, but how sad that someone would do it...joke or not.

Motherhood for Dummies said...

did they take anything... oh gosh how scary. Especially with people sleeping right next the the garage! They might have looked to go see the noise!

imadramamama said...

I'm so sorry. Yikes. Have the police gotten back to anybody? I'd think with all the rummaging they did inside the car that they would be stupid enough to leave a print or two...

Anjali said...

Oh, I am so sorry. I hope someone has a lead by now.

And I hope those rotten teenagers have kids someday, and realize how scary it can be to have someone threaten their safety.

patty w said...

OH my, you poor thing! My heart goes out to you...hugs!

My husbands car has the gas stolen out of it the other night! Parked IN our drive and under the lights but it was up against some very tall ornamental grass. He went to Home Depot and bought a motion sensor alarm. When something trips it, you can set it to either make a noise or have a light come on (all inside the room of your choice)

Of course, when he tried it out in the house, it worked, now that it's hanging on the garage, it won't work and he hasn't had time to play with it.

Might be an idea for you... we've often discussed doing something like this for my daughters window, she's in the front of the house, street side and her window is low. Our bedroom is on the opposite side of the house, so it's always been worrisome but not too much so.

Hugs hon... may those walls/windows be finished soon!

SarahHub said...

Ahhh! Glad you're okay. Good thing your new windows will be in soon!

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

I won't tell you what my practice is, but you could probably guess...

Nicole said...

ak! Why do people feel the need to damage other's property? I mean really! My brother, who lives in my house, had his car window smashed last month ON HIS BIRTHDAY! And my husband was out of town for the week so I was pretty much a nervous wreck until he came back home.

The thing that made me most nervous was that his car alarm did go off, and woke the neighbor (who came and told us about it in the morning) and my brother and I slept right through it!

Mean Mommy said...

Oh that stinks! I'm so sorry! We have some friends who had their car stolen right out of their garage while they were sleeping (and it was also in a very safe neighborhood- and quite remote). Apparently they used to leave the keys in the car (inside the garage) and some twerp broke in a side door, found the keys in it and took off. They never heard anything while they were sleeping. Maybe that's why I obsessively double check everything and sleep lightly, too. I hope they are caught and strung up by their pinky toes for a good flogging in town square- the jerks!

Melissa Markham said...

I am glad all are okay, and sorry for the inconvenience a couple of stupid kids have visited on you and your neighbors. I used to sleep very lightly, but now, an atomic bomb could detonate outside of my window and I am not sure I would hear it...

Hope they catch the kids and put them on a better path!

Kathy G said...

A similar thing happened to us last year.

We have a double-car garage and three cars. Son #3, being lowest on the pecking order, got to park on the street. We live in a safe neighborhood, and he never locked his car.

He went outside one morning to find his glove compartment open. Someone had gone into the car, (not knowing it was a college student's car and there was nothing of value in there!)

He always locked his car after that.

luke said...

I didn't do it

-Luke

planetnomad said...

Glad that everyone's okay and all your stuff, too!
Can't wait for your remodel to be done either.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be so sure that the culprit(s) is teenagers. In this city there are too many grown people who think everyone else owes them something...even if it is helping themselves to your television so they can buy the drugs they are so addicted to...it's sick really.

Having the garage door opener is my WORST fear too especially away from home where they can easily acess your home address from your insurance card (which we leave in the car) and knowing you aren't home it's a free for all. Change the code on your garage door opener asap!

Abby said...

SCARY! eeek I sure hope those windows go in before that Alaska weather starts getting too cold!

Sure glad you are safe too and I hope they catch those onrey kids!

all over the map said...

It's an awful feeling. We were burgled a few months back and I'm still on edge about it at times. We weren't home but came home to our front door wide open. It was a sinking feeling. They took my mac which still peeves me.
It's kind of hard to assume it was teenagers. It sounds pretty calculated.
I know your door isn't working but you do know that there is a code that can be changed and set on the unit and opener for this very reason. When it's lost or stolen it can be disabled.
I hope you rest better with windows installed. The wind noises would creep me out as well.
It's looking good. Like there's a lot of progress happening. yay!

Summer said...

Wow! That was probably the first time you were thankful your garage door opener was broken. I'm glad you are all safe.

BlapherMJ said...

I feel your pain. I'm glad you and your family are ok.

My van was stolen last year. Then just last week my purse was stolen from my car, with my daughter in the back seat, while I was standing right there pumping gas. This happened at a busy gas station during morning rush hour. The boldness in this crime is really scary. I cannot say how thankful I am that my daughter was not harmed and is ok.

Organizing Mommy said...

Glad everyone is O.K. Scary. Prayers for you.

Mel, A Dramatic Mommy said...

So glad everyone is OK! Things like this are the worst because they violate your personal space. I hope the police find the people responsible.

Christine@AreWeThereYetMom said...

Oh Michelle, that's terrible. I'd be scared,(and I am a light sleeper), but I am glad to hear that you are all OK!

Hoping the police find the person or kids who did this!

Be safe.

Lis Garrett said...

Reading this has given me the chills!!!

I woke up the other night to discover my husband had left our back sliding glass door open and the screen unlocked. He makes fun of my nightly mantra, "close and lock the doors," but that is why. He forgets unless I remind him! Too many times he's left the garage door open or front door unlocked, and it is SCARY!

I hope your neighborhood crime spree is solved soon.

Janet said...

Mercy. I'm so glad everyone is OK, but how scary and annoying both! When we first started building the house someone came up and helped themselves to about $200 worth of lumber. Scott immediately installed the gate before we did anything else. Since you can't see the house site from the road, it was someone who deliberately came up to see what they could find. But between the gate and the 140-pound Rottweiler I feel pretty safe in the house.
Then last Christmas we had two packages stolen from our mailbox. Again, you can't see the mailbox from house. I'm STILL mad about it. Now we have all packages sent to Scott's office.
Glad everyone is all right, and I hope they catch those guys and they make someone pay for the damages.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

I've had my car broken into and stuff stolen 3 times now and it always leaves me very freaked out.

Heather said...

I'm a heavy sleeper, but all it takes is a noise or something out of the ordinary as I'm drifting off and I'm wide awake.I'll be completely unable to fall asleep, sometimes for hours.
Glad everyone is okay!

Damselfly said...

Yikes! This reminds me of a Lethal Weapon movie, I don't remember which one....

I'm glad you are OK. Maybe to catch the pranksters/thieves all you have to do is see who's sporting a lot of sunglasses ... or selling them on the street corner! ;)

Sonja said...

Dang, why do people have to be like that? I'm glad that you are ok and that the garage door didn't work. Too bad about the car, though.

Hope you can catch some zzz's. :)

Patience said...

That's horrible. Knowing from personal experience (we were robbed while living in Provo), it's such an awful feeling of being violated when someone breaks into your belongings and steals from you. I hope you can feel more secure soon.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

That's just wrong. Plain wrong.

I hope they catch the hoodlums. Sounds like it shouldn't be too difficult, given their IQ.

Enzie at World Market Portraits said...

What a scary thing to have happen to you. Thank god the person(s) didn't get access to your home!

Mindyleigh said...

Sorry this happened to you. :( Our truck window was busted out last month in broad daylight at Goose Lake! Nothing was taken...but there wasn't much to take.

luckyzmom said...

I think it would be a tiny relief to know that you weren't the only ones targeted because of your homes current vulnerability. What a awful feeling of violation you all must have experienced. I hope the perps are caught.

Lisa said...

That's awful. We've had two break-ins in our neighborhood in two weeks, now. I've beefed up our security!

* TONYA * said...

I would be freaked out.

I should feel fairly safe in my community, but I still get concerned through the night about what kind of people lurk out there. It's hard with my husband gone and my dog having just moved on to puppy heaven to feel safe at night. I take all of the necessary precautions but still ....