I was at work when I got a call from Sara.
“Did we leave the bedroom doors open today?” she asked.
“Hmm, I don’t know. I don’t think so, but I guess we could have,” I said.
“What about the front door, did we forget to lock that today?”
“No, for sure that was locked. I waited by the back door until I heard you lock it, because I wasn’t sure if I should come lock it or if you were going to get it.”
“Huh, well, it’s not locked now. Maybe I just partially locked it?”
5 minutes later she called back again.
“Someone broke into our house. I’m standing outside, and I’m calling the police.”
As far as we can tell, they cut the screen on the back window first, before circling around to the front and breaking a window. They must not have been in the house long, and they must have exited through both the front and back doors. Our neighbor saw the front door open around 3 p.m. and called a few times to see if we were home. Finding we weren’t, he shut the door for us, but did not notice the broken window.
I’m so glad for our neighbors, one of whom checked out the apartment for Sara to make sure it was safe before I could get home, and another helped us fit a board contraption over the missing window. Right at that moment I don’t think I would have known exactly what to do, and I seriously doubt I would have been able to come up with something logical. But now I know what to do! So I guess I gained some experience out of the whole ordeal. Whoo hoo!
Now, the joke really was on whoever “robbed” the place, because they broke into the wrong house. We really don’t have much for them to steal. I can only imagine the looks on their faces, like “Oh no, someone got here first and stole all the tvs!” That being said, we’re not exactly talking about “professionals” here, considering they didn’t take any jewelry (including Sara’s engagement ring) or our cameras, all of which were sitting out.
Instead they stole some loose change and a bike I bought at Goodwill for $10.
The strangest part is that they stole about $0.65 off the counter in the bathroom, but they picked through it and only took the silver, no pennies. Beggars can’t be choosers, my thieving friends! Pennies still spend here in America! They rifled through quite a bit of stuff, including emptying a bag on the bed (side note, we CAN NOT figure out what bag they went through, since it contained only really old kid’s clothes; when’s the last time we had a child wearing 2T pants?) and taking change out of the bowl I keep next to the bed (leaving the pennies untouched, naturally). The “big score” was our container of probably $10 in card-playing change.
Sara pointed out that if they wanted to make some real money, they should have grabbed a couple of hundred dollars worth of yarn.
By far the most bizarre incident was the box of shoes. We had ordered some shoes for Oliver for the wedding, and they had just arrived the day before. So the box was sitting right by the door, unopened. I don’t know if they saw the box and said, “Hey, a package, might be electronics!” or if they recognized Zappos and said, “Maybe they just bought some cool kicks!” In either case, they were bound to be disappointed (unless they were, in fact, criminal 3 year olds).
So Sara said, “You know, I’m going to go look around in the alley, because when they realized they were kids shoes, they probably just dumped them right away.” Even more so when she discovered the box in the dumpster; so we knew that they had opened them and saw what was inside. Sara was sure she would find them somewhere, but we didn’t. So she quickly hopped on the computer and ordered a new set of shoes so we could get them in time for the wedding.
Later that night, totally unrelated, Sara opened up the knitting cabinet looking for some knitting needles, and there were the shoes!
This completely baffled us. So they opened up the shoes in the house, saw they were kids’ shoes and then hid them in a cabinet? And then politely took the box out to the dumpster? Sara and I have been puzzling over this ever since. How could that possibly make sense? Sara said, “I’m not going to sleep tonight. Not because I’m scared, just because I’m confused.” In fact, we were so confused we kept saying, “One of us must have done that and then forgotten, right? I mean, that’s the only thing that makes sense.” Eventually though, Sara pointed out that if we had opened the box we would have put it in the recycling, not the dumpster. So it definitely couldn’t have been us.
So, as far as robberies go, I’d say we got off as lightly as possible. The broken window was by FAR the worst of it.
The truly miraculous part was that the kids weren’t here. This was actually the end-cap on our first nights without the children EVER. That’s just about six years without a night off. I would say it was wonderful, but, you know, it kind of ended badly. On the other hand though, I’m so glad the kids don’t know that this happened, and we’re certainly not telling them. Evie would probably never sleep again. She is such a worrier, and I just know this is the sort of thing that would really rattle her. So it was amazingly fortunate that they just happened to not be here. We’ve been able to keep it from them, but we wouldn’t have been able to that night while we were dealing with the cops and broken glass and everything.
Speaking of the police, I was less than impressed with the stellar performance of the Chicago PD. Despite Sara telling them on the phone she wasn’t going back in the house until they came, it took them 4 hours (and 2 phone calls) to actually make it out (luckily Sara relented on waiting outside!). By that time we had already cleaned up the glass and boarded up the window. The officer was really nice and apologized for the delay. At that point I just wanted to have an official report in case we needed it for insurance or something, but she actually called for a crime scene technician to come out and take a look. We filed the report and she said the CSI tech would be out in “twenty minutes to an hour”.
Now, call me crazy, but I did not expect any kind of attempt to actually solve the crime. I mean, we all know they’re not going to catch these guys. But having a CSI tech come out was kind of badass, especially when he was dusting for prints. And then this happened:
Unfortunately, the CSI guy did not arrive in “twenty minutes to an hour”, he arrived at 11:30 p.m., about an hour after we went to bed and a full 7 hours after we originally called 911.
“Did you touch anything?” he asked.
“Uh, yeah. We called at 4:30,” we said.
“Oh. Well, we won’t be able to get anything then.”
He did attempt to dust for prints, but basically he pointed out that anything we had touched, or breathed on, or looked at funny would have lost the prints. And cardboard doesn’t hold prints. And doorknobs are no good for prints. Apparently fingerprints are delicate little snowflakes and are almost impossible to get (especially if you show up, like, a day after the crime was committed). Needless to say, he didn’t find anything and it was a big waste of everyone’s time.
So that’s it. As far as break-ins go, pretty tame, and I almost feel funny mentioning it. Things are already back to normal around here and we haven’t even gotten the window fixed yet.
As for our ferocious guard-cat, Nala did take the opportunity to make a break for it. Kind of. She walked out through the broken window, munched on the plant a few inches away, and then immediately came back inside and threw up said plant on the glass-strewn windowsill. Not a Shawshank Redemption-level jailbreak perhaps, but she did experience several seconds of freedom and apparently that was enough. I can only imagine these thieves walking around our house with Nala following after them everywhere they went, talking their ears off. Maybe she is a good guard cat; that’s probably why they left so quickly – they were sick of that nuisance cat.