Monday, April 13, 2015

The Break In

I was sitting on the toilet.

It's a bit disconcerting how many of my stories now start this way.

"Keith, did you open the window and take the screen out?" My wife yelled from the living room. 

"No!" I shouted. "I'm on the toilet!"

"Someone's been in our house!"
I hurried what is normally the most relaxing part of my day, and raced to the living room. Someone had removed the screen and pulled a towel from a pile of laundry on the couch to cover the windowsill to make their illegal entry into our home more comfortable.

Then it dawned on us that we didn't know for sure that this person had left our house. "Go to Max!" I urged my wife, as our daughter was alone in our bed, having sleepwalked there sometime in the wee hours of the morning, possibly even while the intruder was in our house. Aluminum baseball bat in hand, creepy thoughts in head, I quickly checked our small flat for unwanted visitors. I then went to the front door, found it unlocked, and opening it discovered that our car was gone. 

It seems the thief had done a quick route, window to door grabbing a few goodies on the way, my wife's laptop and purse mainly. The purse contained the keys and they drove off. They walked right past my record collection. Didn't touch it, which is quite insulting.

It's an intrusion, a hit to your sense of security, a violation, all these things that people say yes, but then it's followed by having to allow cops into your house which isn't one of my favorite things either. An Asian cop and a Hispanic cop showed up and I was relieved that at least they weren't white. The main reasons I don't like dealing with white cops is that I'm afraid we might get along fine, and then I'd worry that it was for the wrong reasons. 'Hey, you guys are alright. Wait a minute... it's not because I'm white is it?' This may be why I've picked up the bad habit of persuading cops to hit me and arrest me and otherwise not get along fine with me.

They asked me if I had any enemies. I thought, "Well, you guys if you've heard what I say about cops in my act." but I answered, "I'm a stand up comedian with strong opinions. Plenty of people hate me."

We tried to get back to our lives as best as we could. I slept on the couch in the living room, or more accurately, I lay awake all night on the couch in the living room. We researched alarms, and we waited for our car to turn up somewhere, as we hear they usually do.
My daughter calls the car Zoey and she was very upset that it was taken. We did our best to keep her routine normal and to minimize the effect of the break in on her psyche. When she said to me, "Daddy, maybe the people that took Zoey were homeless and just really needed to get somewhere." I felt like she was processing it all okay, maybe better than us.

I was at work when I answered a call from my wife. "I'm parked behind our car right now."

Pretty sure the cops would do nothing and feeling powerless my wife took to the internet and read that most cars are found within 10 miles of where they're taken from. She grabbed my mom's van, gave our little one the rare treat of some french fries to buy her patience and began driving our neighborhood. 

She found the car a few blocks from us. After getting a ride from a coworker I wanted to grab the car and go but my smart other half insisted we call the police and wait until they show up. We were on stake out, watching our car.

A cop car pulled up, and the officer gave me some rubber gloves, since they'd be fingerprinting later, and welcomed me to check the car out. Our hope was that our child car seats would still be in the back. They weren't. A big flat screen TV on the other hand was, wrapped in one of our blankets that they'd found in the trunk. 

"Is that yours?" the officer asked

"No." I told her honestly, because I'm an idiot. "But I'll take it in exchange for the car seats they stole."

She laughed and took the TV to her cruiser's trunk after radioing in the serial numbers. I felt really good about that TV. We'd not been convenient people to rob. We'd soured a deal, gone out and found our car before they were done using it, right in the middle of a deal it seemed. I know they wanted that TV. I told the cop, "You'd think they, of ALL people, would know not to leave valuables in the car."

I was proud of that line. I repeated that line a lot, including just now, here in this blog post. 

They took everything from the car, even a small valentine that my daughter had received from a friend, with one glaring exception. They left behind my prized collection of cassette tapes. I know they saw them because they took the roll of quarters that was stored with them. Seriously, these folks do not know quality tunes! 

We now have an alarmed home, and an alarmed car, and a couple of security doors, and a motion sensing floodlight and we're slowly regaining a sense of security. A dog with big hears might be in our future too. We'll see. 

You'd think THEY, of ALL people, would know not to leave valuables in the car. HA ha. Oh, I slay me. 

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