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August 09, 2010

Home Robbery

We were living in southern Virginia. The kids and I bought a small three bedroom house one mile from where I worked as a forklift driver in a large plant. As part of the moving in excitement, I bought each of my three kids something they really wanted. For my son, it was a new bike. I should have known the neighborhood was a problem when his brand new bike was in our back yard and was not there in the morning. We had only been there a week and there was a really good fence with a lock on the gate. The police said oh well, this happens all the time. Huh, who knew.

Our first three day holiday there we went camping. When we returned from the camping trip there was a note on our front door requesting we call the police. As soon as we entered the front door we knew why. The TV and the reel to reel and the microwave were not where they were when we left. But the sight that was most disturbing to my kids was every cupboard was opened and everything spilled out. Every drawer in all of our rooms was thrown around and clothing thrown everywhere. It looked like a great huge big clothes vomit had occurred. All four beds were torn apart and mattresses removed. My older daughter who was a pre-teen at the time was so upset because her clothes and her underwear were pawed through by a stranger. She was frightened and I was relieved she was able to verbalize it to me and we worked through it. A window at the back of the house had the screen rolled up and the window broken. The police had done a temporary fix on the window after they took fingerprints.

Not surprisingly, as sympathetic as the local police were, they were quick to advise not to expect to recover any of the items. My jewelry box, each of the kids TVs and their small radios were gone. The homeowners insurance covered the loss but the price to replace all the electronics that were taken was not what was paid to me.

So we did some adjusting to secure the windows and had family talks often and moved on. Three months later we were pretty much over the trauma of the incident and went camping again on a three day weekend. Guess what? It happened again. No note from the police this time though. The windows were not obviously disturbed this time and the house looked fine. All the new TVs and stereos and microwave were again gone. The only difference was the house had not been ransacked.

The next weekend I put the house on the market and when it sold I bought a house in a different neighborhood, a little farther from work but still close enough to get home if the kids needed me.

Three day weekends remind me of the two burglaries and how they did not change our lives. We still went camping. We incorporated some better burglary deterrents at the next house and considered the two burglaries as a good learning experience. What else can you do?

41 comments:

Real Me said...

Yes, we simply have to learn from it. Sometimes things that occur are beyond our control. It is always very hurtful to lose something you own.

Penny said...

That's not a learning experience anyone wants. How utterly horrible - and to happen twice (or 3x if you include the bike).
Not a pleasant neighbourhood, for sure.

BLOGitse said...

oh no...I think worse is that your privacy was raped and all personal stuff touched by outsider.
Bikes are stolen everywhere. That's why it's better to have old bike. If it's stolen it's not that big lost.
Have a good Monday!

Gary's third pottery blog said...

OH MY GOD, how awful! You are pretty resourceful though, moving right out. Geez!

TheUndertaker said...

Aw, thats horrible, you poor thing! Some people have no shame or boundaries. Good on you for moving out

Brian Miller said...

oh man...i would have moved as well...have been present during two break ins and they are scary...you feel so violated...

Shadowthorne @ Ramzu Zahini said...

.... the second person I hate the most after a liar is a thief... I never experience your kind of theft but if it ever happened to me... well you know what kind of person I am, I will seek retribution.

But you'd say;"Be nice." :P

Betty said...

I think I would have sold the house after the first burglary. We had our car broken into once, that´s the only burglary I´ve experienced, luckily. But you´re right, you just have to move on, and not get hung up on those bad experiences.

Mama Zen said...

That's horrible! I'm glad that you were able to move.

Jillsy said...

that feeling of being violated is what is most difficult, but as you said, you just have to move on.

DJan said...

I used to drive an old beater car because I knew nobody would ever want it. Now I lock my nice car, and my husband is careful to make sure everything is secure when we go out. It's awful to be ripped off.

I'm also glad you were able to move, and I understand why three-day weekends trigger these memories.

Silver Strands said...

Crud! That is really awful. So glad you're out of there.
oxoxo
Denalee

The Urban Cowboy said...

I have never experienced a home burglary, but I imagine it would be a horrific experience.

One of my cars was stolen, and I caught a peeping tom...no match for a gun toten cowboy and his dog!

There used to be an old series where they showed people how easy and fast it was to break into any home. Can't remember the name of it, but what I do remember from it is that even though the home owners were willing participants, once it happened the emotions they experienced were real...and many.

Here's to you never having to endure another invasion. :)

ellen abbott said...

Exactly, what can you do? Better to get over it than let it eat at you. Of course, I've never had my house broken into though I have had bikes stolen out of the yard and garage.

Suldog said...

Having your house broken into is somewhat akin to rape. Very disturbing, on both physical and mental levels, and a long time recovering enough to feel truly safe.

By the way, over at my contest you chose The Renegades?!? Actually, I was wondering if anyone would do so. It was a good shot, in that you knew you might be the only one doing so. I forgive you, but barely :-)

Kristina P. said...

It is super scary. Fortunately, we haven't been robbed since I was a kid, but it happened several times to us when we lived in California.

One time, we were on vacation, and when we came home, we found our swamp cooler had been pushed in, and that's how they got in.

We were also robbed when we were home, at night, asleep. My grandma was staying with us, and left a window open. THAT is one of the scariest feelings, to know someone was in your house while you are there.

secret agent woman said...

You have to keep living your life. I remembering getting into my car once and being puzzled by the black powder all over the dash. Then I noticed the passenger window was smashed open and the stereo gone. The police had already dusted for prints and left a note for me to call. But same deal - there wasn't much the could do.

Skittles said...

What a good outlook you have on it all.

LL Cool Joe said...

I've experienced a home burglary 3 times, when I lived with my parents, and it's not what's taken that's distressing, it's what they do to the house that is.

We always lived in quite nice areas too!

Stickup Artist said...

Unfortunately, left with the question of "What else can you do?'' many people opt to live with bitterness and fear.

I applaud you for making the best but difficult and time consuming decisions to not let those responsible ruin your outlook on life and setting such a great example to your kids!

Wandering Coyote said...

Wow, that is one awful saga. I think of all the possible ways one could have handled the situation, but you chose the rational, wise way. I know I couldn't have handled that with the poise you describe here.

gayle said...

I am so glad that you didn't let it keep you from camping. Our present house was broken into 2 times. I found it once and my youngest daughter came home from school the 2nd time to see the back door glass broken. It is very scary and my daughters were scared for a long time after that. My youngest daughters house was broken into and she lost her jewelry and that included her wedding rings. That makes me the sadest. She has never been able to get them replaced!! Why do people do these things!!

Maggie said...

I think I would have moved out as well but I don't know if I would get over the trauma about being robbed!! I would probably be afraid of going away for a long time or something. But I am glad nothing took away your spirits from taking those long weekends! :D

blueviolet said...

I'm sorry it happened. I'm in awe of you for not letting it get you down. I know I wouldn't have gone camping. I'm way too paranoid.

KleinsteMotte said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Syd said...

Once being robbed is enough. It was my wife's jewelry, including my mother's engagement ring. We knew who did it but could not prove it with finger prints, etc. I had to let go of the anger.

Robert the Skeptic said...

I have been told that if your home is burglarized it is HIGHLY likely to be burglarized again. The reason: the burglars know that you will replace all your stolen items. They are then motivated to come back and steal the new things.

From what you describe it is highly likely that the burglars live within sight of your home where they can watch you come and go. They clearly know what you are doing.

I would hate living in a situation like that. Good that you moved.

lisleman said...

The security feeling is tough to replace. I've enjoyed our neighborhood for 25 years now and feel safe here. However, I still hear about break-ins once in awhile. I wish the world was not like that but it is, so you need to be careful.

sheri said...

i tell you what, YOU must have handled this like a trooper because i don't get the feeling that the kids were seriously freaked out about this happening twice!! now that was unbelievable!!! i'm so glad that you got the heck out of dodge when you did and that none of you were ever harmed!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

You have an unusually philosophical attitude. Many people would become paralyzed with fear, so I'm glad that you and your children did not.

I understand business, but still think it unconscionable that your realtor didn't inform you that your home was in a high crime neighborhood before you bought it.

Cinner said...

You know I just hate that this happened to you and your kids, nothing surprises me, on the farm they still don't lock their doors and I feel like it would be so wonderful to have the trust like that. I sure can not in my neighborhood, pretty much close to city central, everything is locked up. Glad you were able to move into the next house, for peace of mind. take care.

Jannie Funster said...

We had a lot of construction tools stolen last year.

I guess there was a lesson in there somewhere, but not sure what yet.

xo

Cricket said...

Bummer, but at least it's in the past now.

It's funny but it doesn't even have to happen to you to affect you. My neighbor was broken into recently, but in such a half-assed way we knew it had to be a kid (or at least an amateur). Anyway, we were talking about it later and both of us had the same reaction: every time we'd see a kid walking around the neighborhood, we'd look at him thinking "was it you?"

They did eventually catch the kid, no one local, just a troubled kid visiting a friend, saw the opportunity and went for it, so that was good, but still. I didn't like the idea that I was immediately suspicious of just about everyone.

I grew up in a not-so-nice area. Lots of crime, but B & E wasn't too high on the list. I guess the best defense against robbery is poverty ;-)

Thanks for your visit and kind comment. I'll be back.

The Absence of Alternatives said...

Wow! I admire the resilience in you and your kids. Often we are told that the worst part is not the loss of property but the loss of sense of security in your own house. I am so glad to hear that you worked through that and continue to go camping. It's like you win and the bad guys did not. Nice.

Casey Freeland said...

The violation of having a stranger in your home, going through your things, is overwhelming. Very healthy reaction!

Cheers,

Casey

Joanna Jenkins said...

Knowing someone pawed through your stuff, especially your personal stuff is rotten. I've been robbed a few times and it's not a fun experience. I'm so glad you and your kids were able to move on and that no one was hurt.

I hope you and James are having a great summer. I'm take a 3 week blog break to catch up on summer and life in general. I'll be checking in but I won't be around as much. I'll be back September 1st. Happy rest of the month.

xoxo jj

Shrinky said...

What a horrible experience to suffer through, and all the worse as it also traumatised your young children. You were right to move, and how wonderful you made certain not to live in apprehention and fear because of it. Your kids were blessed to have such a positive role model!

KleinsteMotte said...

Robberies are too common. You dealt with it in a very wise way.

Unknown Mami said...

I'm glad you didn't let it keep you from enjoying your 3 day weekends.

Julie said...

That must have been horrible. It's bad enough to lose valuables, but the feeling of being violated and knowing someone was in your house must have been rough. You have a great attitude.

Marla said...

Your constantly positive attitude is amazing and contagious. Thank you!