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Burglary-Theft-Arson: Things That Happen to Other People

Updated on November 14, 2016

My Home---A Crime Scene

Background

In my recent hub, "When You're Afraid," I describe frightening incidents unlike any I've experienced. The following letter outlines my pleas for help----I have not received a response.
Letter to Doug Valeska, DA of Henry and Houston Counties

I first wrote the following letter in February, and hesitated about mailing it. I finally mailed it on March 5 and sent it to his home. One of his assistants told me a few days ago that he acknowledged to her that he had received my letter. Before mailing it, I added my phone number with a handwritten note that when he called, I needed to speak with him in private.

March 4, 2014
Dear Doug,

I am writing to ask for your help. Since I last spoke with you, my house has been burglarized numerous times, stolen items now totaling at least $2000, and the actual amount is probably much higher. Additional acts of vandalism have been committed in my house and my car, over ten in the last month. (Pictures taken this time!) These acts are summarized in the attached letter written to Chaplain Riddle. I have reported all these to the Headland Police Department, and they have been documented and compiled in one report, (back to early November) by Investigator Chaplin Riddle. His report, he told me, includes the theft of my phone from Headland Subway on November 27. Enthusiastic at first, Captain Riddle has made a 180 degree turn within the last week after talking with the chief and captain about these incidents. In fact, Riddle tells me the chief and captain are now talking about closing the case soon, and they have changed Chaplain Riddle’s original decision to report these incidents as felonies, to misdemeanors.

The first video is of the parking lot (front of the store) at Gander Mountain on Montgomery Highway, January 14, sometime between 6 p.m. until closing at 9 p.m. The manager gave me the number to call for obtaining this video: 1-888-5 GANDER. Someone went into my locked vehicle, a silver 2002 Chrysler Sebring Lxi, during the time I was in the store and took a digital tape recorder, which I had just purchased at approximately 5-5:30 from Office Depot that same night. I gave the Dothan Police Officer who took the report a copy of my receipt for the recorder. The people who have been going in my car seem to have a “clicker,” and they bypass the alarm.

There were fingerprints all over the car. The officer told me I would need to see someone in the main police station about the video and/or fingerprints. (Monday-Jan17 was a holiday, Martin Luther King Holiday). On Tuesday January 18, I went to the Dothan Police Station to request fingerprints and ask if they would order the video. The officer at the desk yelled at me. At the time, I was on the phone with Mike Junkins, All South Investigations in Birmingham, whom I have known for some time. He heard the officer yelling at me and expressed concern as to why he was so adamant about not wanting anything done.

It is interesting that the tape recorder reappeared Wednesday----at the Police Station in Dothan---the investigator who met with me on Tuesday stated that he would not be getting the video because the recorder had reappeared. That seems to be a typical response---and the MO of the thieves is subterfuge that is aimed at destroying my credibility.

The second video I hope to get is from the Headland Subway, November 27, 2013, between 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. The video clearly shows the men who manipulated my phone just before it disappeared. Three days later, I recognized one of the men from the Subway video---he appeared at a motel in Birmingham where I stayed, and the woman with him (a Ms. Elliott, Enterprise, Al), appeared in at the first motel in Birmingham as a “cleaning lady” who tried to enter my room an hour before checkout and the next day, she appeared at a second motel as someone else---warning me not to go to the FBI or all kinds of bad things would happen to me. She sent me text messages, which I have saved on my phone.

The video can be obtained from the Eufaula office of Joy Enterprises (Mark Joy, Owner). The number is 334-616-6213. The address is 1074 North Eufaula Ave, Eufaula, AL.

It is my firm belief that this video will never be obtained through the Headland Police Department, and that is why I am asking if you will please do whatever you can to get it. It is also my belief that Chaplain Riddle, who seems to be documenting everything well, has his hands tied, and although his superiors may not say, “No,” obstacles are constantly placed in the path of anyone who tries to accomplish anything with this case. I asked Chaplain Riddle about getting the video, and he initially agreed. However, he told me he never received my message that I left with the lady at the desk of the Headland Police Department on the morning of February 7. I did not know she had not given him the message until February 12 when he told me he had not obtained the video because he never received my message with that information. That same day, I again provided the Subway information, this time leaving it on Chaplain Riddle’s voice mail. He told me today, February 14, that he had been busy “working felonies,” and he had not been able to check into getting it.

The phone theft of November 27 is now in the report documented by Chaplin Riddle (or so he told me). When Chaplain Riddle documented these incidents, he went back to the beginning in early November---unless someone changes the records. He also took some fingerprints from inside my car and has those on file, but he said the captain said there must be more evidence before sending the prints to Montgomery.

The bigger picture disturbs me even more than these incidents. A 2005 report (400 pages) from Auburn University documented that the City of Enterprise is riddled with corruption---drugs, illegal activities of all kinds, including murder, and according to the Auburn report, the Enterprise Police Department and other city officials are deeply involved in perpetuating these criminal activities.

This corruption has entered Henry County, and from my experience, the local police are going out of their way---and expending a great deal of energy to prevent the guilty from being caught----rewriting police reports (the one I signed on November 22-23) was rewritten, leaving out pertinent information----that my laundry room window had been pushed out from the casing several inches.

Another negative impact from the Headland Police Department is that Chaplin Riddle originally documented the break-ins during January and February as felonies. Last week, however, he told me that they are all misdemeanors, and he expects that the chief and captain will be closing the case soon. Losses in my house alone are now over a couple of thousand dollars----and that figure does not include the damages to my car, which I describe in my letter to Chaplain Riddle. The attached letter to Chaplain Riddle details the vandalism of my car over several weeks.

As to my attempts to deter these criminals: I have changed my locks at least four times since November, and this week, I began parking my car even closer to my house---extremely close to my back door with “stuff” all around, making it extremely difficult for anyone to enter my car without making a lot of noise. Yesterday morning, I found that “they” had torn off the passenger side of the rear view mirror and ripped a piece of trim from the passenger door. They continue to cut into the leather on the back seat arm rest, which I document daily with pictures.

In addition to having evidence in the form of fingerprints on file, I can identify one of the people who has been involved with my car incidents because I saw him walking onto my porch the last Saturday in January. He lives in Dothan but has recently been spending weekend time with a neighbor. When I introduced myself, this person (whom I have seen on video approaching my car) gave me a fake name. I found him on Facebook with his real name, and I found an online resume listing former employment as a mechanic with a Chrysler Dealership. I know who he is----but I do not dare pass any more information on to the Headland Police. More evidence is needed and the videos would help add to the evidence.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you can subpoena the Gander Mountain and Headland Subway videos, that would be wonderful---and I believe a big step in the direction of showing criminals that they cannot continue with such crimes and expect police protection.

Please do not pass along any of this information to the Headland Police. I sincerely appreciate anything you are able to do, including help with the Subway video and apprehending these vandals and thieves.

Sincerely,
Nancy McLendon

P.S.Information: Mike Junkins---Allsouth Investigations Said he would be glad to talk with you. (Junkins' phone number crossed out). He can give you his impression about the conversation at the Dothan Police Station on January 18.


Letter to Local Investigator

February 9, 2014

Revised 2/15/14

Dear Chaplain Riddle,

On February 8, 2014, I was gone from approximately 12 noon until shortly after dark. When I realized someone had been in my home, I called the police department immediately rather than enter by myself. Officer Singleton came to my house and took the information, which he said he would relay to you.

Last week, you told me that you would not need to document any more missing items because you had enough items listed already. Ironically, at approximately the same time that the police department indicated to me that they had no need to document additional losses, the thieves began taking more expensive items from my home. These items are listed at the end of this letter.

Additional vandalism: The toilet seat was ripped off the toilet on one side of the seat----the screw holding it in place was nowhere around. Before this happened, the seat had not been loose. The previous week, Officer Singleton took pictures of a window in my house that was unlocked and the tabs broken off, leaving the window unlocked but at first glance, it appeared to be locked. The broken tables made it impossible for me to lock the window (Officer Singletary, however, was able to lock the windows).A separate window was unlocked. I think I mentioned to you at the beginning of these incidents----I never unlock my windows and I check them periodically to make sure they remain locked. These had recently been tampered with.

The thefts and vandalism have been expensive and extremely stressful. I have worked hard to buy things all along to get my house ready to sell. I have changed my locks (or rekeyed them) at least four times since November 2013, and now I have to pay to change them again. I have had to purchase several cell phones because the ones I had were stolen. The one stolen from the Headland Subway on November 27 was never returned. Several phones have been hacked, and a local computer person verified that someone had hacked into them. The Verizon Fraud Department, in November, verified that someone had added his/her phone to my phone number, enabling them to read my text messages and listen to my conversations.

Also, I can assure you that whoever sent me multiple nonsense text messages did not do so because his/her phone had a virus. Furthermore, T-Mobile provided a statement that the multiple text messages sent to me asking for my email and other personal information were not from T-Mobile, but from someone impersonating T-Mobile.

Besides, whoever sent me multiple nonsense text messages, which were an avenue into my phone, is entirely too savvy to allow his/her phone to be infected repeatedly with a virus and spew these text messages to contacts permission. Again, a computer specialist and an investigator verified that this is one method of getting into someone's phone, and they advised me to save the phones and messages. My computer’s hard drive and numerous papers were stolen from my locker at the House of Ruth, where I spent the month of December, as well as numerous papers. I slept and showered with the key around my neck. HP will replace the hard drive, but I am without a computer until they can repair and return it to me.

Wells Fargo's Fraud Department confirmed last week that the emails I received appearing to be from Wells Fargo were actually phishing, asking for personal information, to open my bank account on my mobile phone. I have copies of all these text messages, and I have saved the phones. I rarely use email now because of the privacy factor. I deleted my Facebook account for that reason. As I stay off the Internet more, it seems that the harassments asking for my email address have intensified. Yes, we all get these messages----but not to this extent nor with this degree of intensity, nor this many incidents within such a short span of time. My T-Mobile phone received over 25 fake emails last month, someone pretending to be from T-Mobile, yet T-Mobile denied sending all of these except for three or four.

In addition to my house break-ins, incidents regarding my car, a 2002 Chrysler Sebring, have cost a considerable sum. Within one month, I used all four of the towing charges allowed by AAA. No one could find anything wrong with the vehicle----it just stopped on numerous occasions for no reason. And I had to pay someone to jump start my battery on at least three occasions because the person(s) who got inside my car the previous night had left the inside light on, running the battery down, something that has never occurred. The lights go out automatically when you turn off the ignition and headlights. Each of these problems with the car stopped as suddenly as they began.

Then, for weeks, the car ran extremely low on oil. I had to add a half a quart or more each week. I was told it was might be the seals, but since I had already spent so much money on towing charges and rekeying my house locks, I delayed the repairs and checked the oil daily. I could not see oil on the ground under the car and the car was not burning oil. Then just as suddenly as that problem began, the oil level appeared normal. Then, within a few days when I checked, the oil gauge registered too much oil---although I had not added additional oil.

When my oil cap went missing, a young neighbor offered to get one for me and put it on. The next morning, I checked and the oil cap was about three sizes too big, and oil went everywhere when I cranked the car. He insisted that he had put on the right size the day before. For the last several weeks, the oil level has appeared to be at normal levels. The next tampering with my car involved my tires. About three or four mornings each week, I found that the air in my tires, which had been at .32, and I had just bought the tires, dropped to .13 through .25. The problem occurred with different tires at different times. This week, you took pictures of the damage to the outside of my car---the passenger rear view mirror, destroyed and and the trim on the front passenger door torn back as though some instrument had ripped it back.

Further damage----I have also found cuts in the leather arm rest on the back seat behind the driver's seat although no one has ever ridden in my back seat. I have been taking pictures, and noted new cuts added every few days. They begin small and within a few days, they are larger and more pronounced.

If you recall our conversations, I have never asked anyone in the police department to drop everything and stake out my house or take any other extreme measures. However, I have expected that the incidents would be documented----and if I understand correctly----you appear to have taken meticulous notes. I also expect that the police department would not interfere with any reasonable action of evidence collection that might lead to catching those who are responsible.

My original letter to you of February 7, is now being revised. I wrote the next two paragraphs on February 7: There should be no reason for difficulties in getting the video of the Headland Subway. I have left a message with the desk clerk at the Headland Police Department asking her to make sure you receive the phone number and address for the Subway office when you come in. However, it will be interesting to see if your superiors allow you to actually get this video.

I am concerned that when I called Karen Collins (Eufaula Subway office) this morning {2/7/14} she knew details about the video that I did not give her. Her detailed knowledge of the video, which I never discussed with her or anyone in her office, gave the distinct impression that someone has already discussed the video with her. It will be interesting to see what obstacles hinder obtaining this evidence.

Above Paragraph Revised Feb 15: On the morning of February 7, I left a message with the desk clerk at the Headland Police Department with the telephone number and address of the office of Joy Enterprises (Headland Subway Office that would handle the video). I expressed to her the importance of giving you the message when you came in as you needed that information immediately. I called you on February 13 about another matter, and you told me you never received the message from the desk clerk. On February 14, you told me you got my second message, left on your voice mail the night before, but were busy working felony cases.

Many Americans believe as I---a tough stance against crime is probably one of the best deterrents. Provide the strongest penalties the law allows, and then if the illegal activities continue, employ even tougher penalties, whenever possible.

These losses----theft, the damages to my house and car, to my computer and to (multiple) phones----have drained me financially. The car difficulties caused me to miss several tutoring sessions, and two of my students found another tutor because they needed regular tutoring.

Please allow me to ask a question of both you and Chief Jones: If similar harassments and losses were happening to your mother, sister, loved one, would you tell them as you told me last week, "Well, get used to the idea, these are misdemeanors and if they are caught, you will be the one to prosecute, not us." Regarding these incidents, you had looked up the laws in my presence and originally used the word felonies.....now, these multiple incidents are all misdemeanors.....Would either of you say, "Get used to the idea that the chief and captain are going to probably close this case soon because it's taking too much time and no results."

What would be your position if this vandalism and thievery were happening to your family? Would you insist that your loved one had to prosecute these crimes as misdemeanors----even though they had lost several thousand dollars? The damage and theft in my house alone is now over $2600, and that is only what I saw the first hours at home----that does not include the car, the phones, or the time spent on the phone with Wells Fargo, Verizon, T-Mobile, or any of these other businesses who appear to have been affected. Not to mention the emotional stress of walking into my house and immediately recognizing that someone has taken the liberty of treating my house as though they could do as they pleased----with each visit, becoming bolder, breaking, tearing things, and taking my personal belongings with them----personal items that I have worked hard to buy.

It seems that sometimes we (all of us) believe if we cover our bases and observe the letter of the law or guidelines or whatever, that we have fulfilled our duties. But ultimately, it's the spirit of the law that can make that extra difference in these kinds of situations. It is that spirit of the law, which stems from a heartfelt desire to bring an end to wrong-doing, that pushes us to use every means the law allows. I believe that God expects all of us to allow the Spirit of the law to be at work at all times, not just the letter of the law.

These actions bring suffering to humans----man's inhumanity to man. A detailed (400 pages) report by Auburn University in 2005 spells out the corruption in the city of Enterprise and details how the police department and city officials promote the corruption. That city’s murder rate is one of the highest in the South. If Headland continues on its present course, it may wind up with a similar record----a place that is not safe, especially for a woman who lives alone.

Until a few days ago, I observed you as a man who appeared to have a deep desire to do all possible to stop these acts. I told you early on, “They—your superiors----are not going to allow you to do your job.” About 10 days ago, almost overnight, I saw a drastic change in you regarding the break-ins and vandalism. Although you have always been courteous and you always follow protocol, I do not observe in you the same spirit that was present previously. You may disagree---that is simply my observation. Today, I sense that you are guided by dictates placed on you by others.

A final thought is the idea that "they" (any wrongdoers on the larger scene) will eventually mess up and get caught-----a misconception, not unless more people take a stand against wrong-doing.

What is happening to me is a nightmare----at 69 I should not have to deal with this kind of constant stress. The increasing costs, a constant struggle that has now become a financial strain. But if bigger wrongs are being committed by these people, then others will be hurt far more than I----and innocent lives ruined because too many people thought that somebody else could deal with the problem.

Thank you for your time. This letter expresses my sincere thoughts and my appreciation for what you have done----as well as my deep disappointment in a system that appears to provide every opportunity for criminals to commit crimes and not be held accountable to the law.

Sincerely,

Nancy McLendon

Attachment: List of items removed from my house on February 8, 2014

  1. Hanging clothes from master bedroom closet, equaling at least four-five running feet in two separate areas of hanging space, totaling at least 8 feet of hanging space.
    1. Cold Water Creek cardigans---forest green and white
    2. Three pullover sweaters----Soft Surroundings and Cold Water Creek
    3. Black skirt and jacket (rhinestones on one sleeve of jacket---Nah Nah collection—never worn, purchased for a wedding.
    4. Several dresses---Chadwicks, Boston Proper, and Cold Water Creek
    5. A number of my daughter’s clothes---size 4-8, dresses, skirts, blouses, (she was storing them at my house)
  2. Two large boxes (at least 3 / 4 feet) of my daughter’s items: White ironstone china, crystal, stainless steel set, small kitchen items, mixers, food processor, other). She was storing these with me until she had a larger place. Taken from my back covered patio.
  3. Two large clear vessel sinks---stored in large plastic storage containers in master bedroom closet, purchased on Ebay (receipt available if needed). Saving for money to have them installed in master bathroom.
  4. Verizon Smart Phone---not activated---stickers still on phone. Will get model number and serial number from verizon---extremely expensive. I was planning to send it back and get credit because Verizon has been unable to prevent others from attaching my number to someone else’s phone. Verizon is to give me credit for this phone when sent back. Will get serial number to you_________
  5. Cuticle cream---Burt’s Bees: $8.00—On my nightstand….they took the cream, left the lid.
  6. Small (approx 8 inches or so diameter) black iron skillet---my grandmother’s from the early 1900s. It stayed on my stove---I had used it the night before to cook small amount of cornbread and I used it several times each week. PRICELESS! Cannot be replaced.

This item had been used by my grandmother since the early 1900s and made it through two world wars and the Great Depression and now they've been stolen from me.

My Note

Since I wrote this letter, a few of these items have been returned during subsequent break-ins. Some of the more valuable items have not. Thankfully, my grandmother's little frying pan came back. The desired goal: Attack my credibility. Oddly, my credibility has not be questioned nearly as much as I expected. I've lived a long life without ever having anything like this happening to me. Instead, people believe my story---but they are afraid.

Summary

Most of the policemen who have come to my house have been kind, considerate, and deeply concerned. I always spoke highly of Chaplain Riddle because he was kind to me, and he appeared to document in detail each incident. I also expressed my disappointment that the investigation seemed to stop with Chaplain Riddle----and a couple of officers expressed that each officer must follow the directives of his or her superiors. I knew that the police who came to my house were (for the most part) dedicated to doing the right thing.

I spoke freely to these officers about my fears: First, that the perpetrators could murder me quite easily. They could create a disturbance on the opposite side of town and then somehow get inside my house.

Since everyone who has been around me knows suicide would never be believable, I most feared some type of "accident." Maybe force me into my car and drive me off somewhere in the middle of the night----and I would have an "accident."

My second fear: That I would be arrested on some trumped up charge---drugs planted in my car or in my house. When I told that to my sister-in-law, she laughed. "At your age," and "You're too much of a health nut to take a pill or some type drug."

Is this fire this type "accident?" The trip to Birmingham was in John's car. My car was in my carport.....did someone believe I was at home alone?

Or was the fire a way to "trump" up some type of charge to arrest me and get me out of the way by putting me in jail. Is that the reason the police withheld all information about the rigged hot water heater?

I recall in November when I tried to get a police report on an incident----the police refused to do a report on a November 11 break-in. I returned to the station and asked for a report. Although I was polite and explained that I simply wanted documentation for the incident, the officer became angry and threatened to put me in jail.

The fire is detrimental to me in other ways. The house did not burn to the ground. I have to stay around and see that the repairs are completed. I had completed excellent arrangements to rent the house to a lovely couple---actually, they were to move in this week-end. I have a 2.37 % loan, so this arrangement would have enabled me to downsize and get away from the harassment and danger. I do not believe these people would have targeted someone else. The arsonist changed all that. And I still have to deal with the possibility of more of the same as I rebuild......

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