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My Home Was Burglarized: Signs Your Home is Being Targeted for a Break-In
It was a normal day in early March, of 2017. My day started at 6 a.m. when my alarm went off. It was time to get up, and get the kid's ready, and off to school. I began making my morning coffee as the kid's exited the house to the bus stop.
I just happened to glance out the window that overlook's our back patio and I noticed that our yard wagon that my husband use's outside around the house was gone. I didn't think much of it at the time, but I made a mental note to ask my husband about it once he had gotten up.
My husband works the night shift at his job 4 day's a week, so he sleeps late, and doesn't usually get up until around 11 a.m., or Noon everyday. I went about my morning doing laundry, putting the dishes away, going through our bill's, watching some t.v. etc..
When my husband got up I noticed I was in fact actually very anxious to ask him "Hey honey did you move the wagon that was outside on the back porch"? No, he replied as he was making his coffee. I said oh, "OK then where is it"? this caught his attention enough to go look out the patio window. He said, "I don't know? But I didn't move it". We both immediately went outside, and began looking for it but we couldn't find it anywhere. We came to the assumption that the wagon was in fact stolen.
The wagon being stolen didn't bother me as much as the fact that someone had came into our backyard when we weren't aware of it.
I thought about this all day, and by the time 4 p.m. rolled around and it was time for my husband to leave for work I was extremely anxious, and fearful. As this meant My kid's, and I were being left alone. I was use to my husband working night's as he has done so for the past twelve year's. But tonight was different. We were now aware that someone had come into our backyard, and stolen something of our's but we didn't know who, and this made me extremely uneasy being left alone with the kid's right now.
After my Husband left for work, I began making dinner as usual. By the time it got to be around 7 p.m it was getting dark out. My husband came home for dinner as he always does, and he made sure the door's were all locked before he left. I got the kid's ready for bed around 9 p.m, and then went back downstairs to pick up the house. I had finished the dishe's, and my nightly vacuuming.
It was around 11 p.m. when I went into the laundry room to start some laundry before bed. I had happened to glance out the window onto our back patio, and I immediately noticed it was pitch black out there. However, I had just turned on the patio light around 8 p.m. So I immediately knew something was wrong.
I instantly felt a shiver go through my body, I reached for the patio light switch right next to the back door, and flipped it. Nothing. I began flipping it up, and down. Nothing. This was particularly alarming to me as I had personally just changed the light bulb out there 2 week's prior to this because it had went out yet again.
I knew this was a brand new light bulb, and it didn't just go out. I grabbed my cell phone, and immediately called my husband at work. I told him the patio light is out, it won't come on, and I had just changed it 2 weeks prior. He said go outside, and make sure it wasn't unscrewed. However, I did not feel comfortable unlocking, opening any of the door's, or going outside. It was pitch black, and I was afraid someone was hiding out there, and possibly waiting for me to come out, and check the bulb. I said "Nick, something is wrong". "Somebody is out there, and they either unscrewed our light bulb, or took it".
My husband agreed with me but said if your not going to go outside, and check it than I will do it when I come home. "Calm down honey", and go to bed he said, "I will be home in 2 hour's. You will be fine". I hung up the phone with my husband at 1 a.m. I then went to every room in the house downstairs and made sure the window's, and the door's were locked.
Our house is fairly large it is near 3,000 sq feet, and two storie's. The kid's bedroom's are all upstairs, and our master bedroom is downstairs. We have a very large kitchen that separates our 2 living room's. The main living room is at the very front of our house, and our "bonus" second living room is through our large kitchen all the way at the very back of the house.
The last room I went was into that night was our back bonus living room, it has three set's of window's, and one door going to the outside back yard. I made sure all the window's were locked, and that the door going to the outside was locked. When I came up the small set of stair's out of the bonus room, and back into our kitchen I shut, and closed the door to the bonus room behind me. This was a mistake, I will forever regret.
The Night of the Break In.
It was 3 a.m. I awoke to my husband screaming my name Tara!, Tara!, Tara! Wake up our house was broken into!!!! My husband flipped the light on in our bedroom, and I jumped up out of bed, my mind was racing. What do you mean our house was broken into? I ran behind following my husband as he raced through our kitchen, and into our back bonus room. I followed him as he went to the back door in the bonus room that leads outside, and opened it, Look he said, he showed me one of our patio chair's was pushed up against our house right underneath the window that is right next to the door. The window above the chair was broken out. The intruder had cut the screen out of our window, broke the window out just enough to unlock it, so he could slide the window open. The intruder then stood on our patio chair to reach in, and unlock our back door, and then entered into our home.
My husband began dialing 911. Still in shock, I ran back through the house, and flew upstairs to check on my kid's. They were all OK, and sound asleep in their bed's. "Thank god", I said in my mind as I raced back down the stairs. The initial shock was now turning into anger. Anger that someone had broken into our house in the two hour window between the time I went to bed, and the time my husband came home from work. Anger at myself for not listening to my instinct. Anger because they got into our home when my kid's, and I were asleep.
The police arrived at around 4 a.m. about 15 minutes after my husband had called 911. The police were able to get fingerprint's off of the window the burglar had broken because it was a double pained window and his fingerprints were on the "inside" of the broken glass so we know that it was no one else's fingerprints.The police also did a perimeter check looking for place's that someone could hide, and some other officer's drove around the area looking for anyone suspicious but everything was quiet, and they never found anyone.
We believe the intruder never entered into the "main" part of our house where the kid's, and I were. It appeared that he had stayed in the back of the house, and only entered the room in which he had broke into.
All the thing's that were missing were also in that room. The intruder had stolen my husband's PlayStation 4, his new PlayStation Virtual reality headset, and a few other things of value. Nothing that can't be replaced, but honestly the thing that he stole most from us was our peace of mind.
We are very lucky, that he didn't go any further into our house. The intruder also did something that struck me as odd. He closed the window blind's on the window that he had broken to get inside, and he shut the door behind him when he left. My husband believe's the intruder did all of this so that if I had in fact heard him, and went to investigate in that room that everything would have "appeared fine" on first glance therefore, giving the intruder more time to get away.
We were told by the police that because the state of Oregon only has one crime lab that the fingerprint's they were able to get will take 8 months to process. At the time of this article, we are still waiting to find out if they get a match to the fingerprint's in their system database.
The Day's Following the Home Invasion
In the day's following the break in my husband, and I were like zombie's.We were both physically, and mentally exhausted. We couldn't think straight, and we were running off pure adrenaline.
My husband took time off of work as he didn't want to leave the kid's, and I alone. He even considered quitting his job as he was so upset over leaving us now at night. But we both agreed that wasn't an option at this time. So, we went on a full out mission to secure our home to the best of our ability.
We bought a high tech video surveillance camera system with excellent night vision. My husband installed 4 camera's on each entry point around our house. The camera's have a wide view span, so we were able to get the door's, and windows on each entry point of our house. We can monitor the camera's 24 hrs a day. My husband also constantly monitor's the camera's while he is at work from his smart phone at night. We also put alarm's on every single window, and door downstairs, and "kick guard bar's" on each of our door's as well.
My husband also bought me my own gun. I have an 9 mm hand gun that I keep directly beside me at night now. We had many gun's in the housethe night of the break in. My husband has a small arsenal. However, they were all unloaded, and locked up because we have kid's in the house. I wouldn't have known how to load any of them, and due to that they wouldn't have done me any good that night.
I also made another mistake. I kennel trained our dog to go into her kennel at night to sleep. We have a 7 lb maltipoo. No, she is not big, no she couldn't have protected us. However, she is extremely loud when it come's to barking, and she always alerts us when someone is here. But I trained her from the time she was a puppy to go into her kennel at night, and I put a blanket over her kennel to keep her quiet. She was trained to not make a sound at night, and unfortunately she did what I taught her to do. She didn't make a sound the night the intruder broke in.
Ever since the break in,we now leave her out every night. She is gated in our kitchen between the front, and the back of the house. She is able to hear, and see everything in the house now. I am absolutely confident that if the intruder did in fact come back she will alert me before he ever gain's access to the inside which will give me enough time to get my handgun, and dial 911.
Your home is supposed to be the one place that you feel safe. The one place where you can relax, and the intruder took that from us. Our peace of mind is gone now. I do not feel safe in our home anymore. It's now been 5 month's since the break in, and I'm still on edge every night. I can no longer sleep at night without worrying if the intruder is going to come back, because of the fact he knows he got away with it the first time.
This Was Not a Random Home Invasion
The thing is this was not just a random break in. The intruder knew my husband's work hours, and his weekly work schedule. He knew that my husband was gone.He also knew what time my husband would be coming home.
The intruder was not afraid to break into our home knowing that my three kid's, and I were inside. What is really scary is he also seemed to know that I was a sound sleeper, and would not wake easily once I went to bed. Which is true. Once I go to sleep, I am not easily woken. I heard nothing that night. Being that our home is so large, and our master bedroom is all the way at the front of our house, coupled with the fact I shut the door to our back bonus room, I didn't hear the intruder break out our window, or enter into our house. I never heard anything.
Our house was being watched, and cased before we ever knew it. Our back patio light kept going out month's prior to the break in, and the bulbs kept burning up? My husband checked the light bulb on the patio when he had gotten home that night, before he came inside the house.The light bulb on our patio had in fact been unscrewed.That is when my husband ran inside the house, and started checking the door's and windows.
The fact that the burglar unscrewed that light bulb is what alerted me that someone was outside. Yet, I didn't think that someone would break into my home mere minutes after I went to bed that night. I should have stayed up, and waited for my husband. I shouldn't have let him talk me into going to bed. I should have listened to my instinct. I will always regret that.
Sign's Your Home Is Being Targeted
I never saw anyone directly watching my home. We live right outside the city. People do walk by on our street occasionally. However, now I pay attention to everything, and everyone around my home especially at night.
Here is a list of sign's your home may be being targeted for a robbery, or home invasion.
1) You see strange people in your neighborhood that you have never seen before, or that seem to be out of place for the area in which you live.
2) Someone knock's on your door, and has an odd reason for doing so, such as "Oh, I thought this was Susan's home" sorry, wrong house. Or, Does "such and such" live here?
What they are doing in that short period of time is seeing if anyone is in fact home, how many people may be inside, and looking at the inside of the house in that brief period of time your door is open they can get a fairly large amount of information.
3)Strange vehicles in the neighborhood. Do you see an odd vehicle driving by slowly, or repeatedly driving through your neighborhood, maybe at odd hour's, or at certain time's of the day? This may be a sign they are casing home's in the area to target for a break in.
4) Someone walking by taking picture's of the house's. This is to go back through the pictures, or take them to someone else, so they can decide which house's they want to target.
5) Weird markings around your home. This is a fairly new discovery. It seem's burglar's are starting to "mark the house's" in which they intend to target. They will leave a "marking" of some sort (usually in the form of symbol's) on a lamp post, near your mailbox, or on the sidewalk in front of your home etc... this tells the other's that this house is worth robbing, or that it is an "easy target" If you see any odd symbols around your home, remove them immediately.
Preventing a Home Invasion
We thought like most people do, that it "wouldn't happen to us". That these sort's of things only happen to other people. How very wrong we were. Taking precaution's now may save you from ever experiencing what we went through.
Here are a few deterrent's that can make the difference as to whether your home is targeted, or if the burglar choose's to move on to the next.
1) Install video surveillance camera's around your home. They have very good inexpensive video surveillance camera package's that have amazing picture quality, and excellent night vision.
We bought a UNIDEN surveillance camera package, it included 4 day/night vision surveillance camera's, and the DVR recording box included. It was also fairly easy for my husband to install.
2) Buy window, and door alarm's for all the window's, and door's in your home, and use them.
We purchased the extremely loud alarm's that you stick on the window's, and door's that when set "on" if the laser light between them get's broken by the door, or window opening it put's off a very high intensity loud alarm, and will not only scare off the intruder, but will also alert you to the fact that someone is breaking in, which can be a lifesaver literally. We leave our's off during the daytime when we are home. However, we always make sure they are on every night before we go to bed. You can buy these in pack's of four, or more and they are very inexpensive, but effective.
3) Get kick guard's for all your door's. These prevent your door from being able to be kicked in.
4) Make sure all your door, and window lock's are working. You would not believe how many people have lock's that either don't work, or they just don't use them. I always check to make sure our windows are all locked. Get in the habit of doing this, an unlocked window, or door is an invitation into your home to a burglar.
5) If you leave on vacation have someone pick up your mail, or have delivery service stopped completely while you are away. A mailbox full of mail tells the burglar no one is home.
6) If you have children in the home talk to them about what action's you would take if you were all home in the event of a home invasion. I have taught my own kid's a "code word" this then alert's them all to go into my daughter's room, lock her door, and call 911, they then know to wait for the police to arrive, and to wait for their instruction to come out. They are not to open the door for any reason in the meantime.
There are many thing's you can do to help to secure your home, and to prevent it from becoming a target. If potential burglar's see surveillance camera's they will almost always flee the scene, and move on to the next house that doesn't have them.
It is better to protect, and arm your home now than it is to wait until it's too late. If anything, it will give you a better peace of mind knowing that you have protective deterrent's in place.
© 2017 Tara Nichols