Robbed! Pros and Cons
Robbery...home Invasion...burglary. But by any name, being robbed can be a good thing.
No one wants to be robbed, of course, or suffer the feelings of violation of personal space on top of the loss of expensive electronics and/or items valuable only to you and yours.
It happened to us because we were too trusting.
We were, after all, in a tiny town in rural Oklahoma where people still leave their doors unlocked at night, in plain sight of a busy restaurant and even busier convenience store. After dark, one or the other of two city cops keeps an eye out for suspicious activity - not difficult when the entire town is six blocks long and four blocks wide.
During the summer, my son and daughter-in-law had rented an extra bedroom to one of his co-workers. But D-I-L was hoping to get a job too, so dependable childcare for my grandson was essential if he and she were on overlapping shifts.
The obvious solution was for me to give up my flat in Kansas, move to OK, and become the live-in Granny Nanny. The housemate would have to (and did, willingly) make other arrangements.
The weekend before the robbery, two things happened.
First, to save space in the truck that would haul my "big stuff" from storage, we'd already made a trip from KS with a load of "little stuff"...pots and pans, cooking utensils, etc...and a 5-drawer lingerie chest tied to a roof rack on top of the car. Shades of "The Beverly Hillbillies" or The Grapes of Wrath...
Second, unbeknown to us, the housemate was wanted in the State of Tennessee on an outstanding warrant for DWI. Sometime during the weekend, he was picked up and transported back to TN for a 30-day "vacation". Moving his stuff out...including his bed and his mother's washer and dryer...fell to the mother, whom we'd also met and trusted. She arrived an hour after we left for Kansas for the rest of my stuff.
We returned two days later to a nearly empty house.
Our mistake was leaving the house unoccupied while we were so far away.
Being a tiny town where it was public knowledge that Housemate was moving out and I was moving in, TVs and such being carried out by the mom's druggie nephews from the next town raised no alarms among the neighbors or local constabulary. She had her son's key and locked the house after removing only his things and her washer and dryer. She even vacuumed his room before leaving.
The nephews, knowing we couldn't possibly return from KS before sundown the next day, simply came back in the morning with a crowbar, forced the back door open, and helped themselves to our things.
All the electronics, of course, were gone. Two
TVs...the stereo and its rather large speakers... my son's desktop
computer and computer stand...my nearly-new wireless router...dozens of
DVDs and video games.
Also many non-electronics that one wouldn't think were worth stealing:
- ALL my aforementioned pots and pans and cooking utensils.
- A small crock I'd had for at least 25-years that held cooking utensils next to the stove.
- ALL the silverware and the tray it in.
- A brand-new set of potholders.
- 10 lbs of sugar in a rather expensive container designed to hold 10 lbs of sugar.
- The larger of two coffee makers, but not the nearly full can of coffee or filters next to it.
- A cheap wall clock that my daughter-in-law had had since childhood.
- From the bathroom, a fully-stocked first-aid kit and an unopened giant-economy size package of really good toilet paper (but they left the package of cheapie paper).
- From the back bedroom, a bedside lamp and the aforementioned 5-drawer lingerie chest as well as the roof rack used to bring it from KS.
Oddly, none of the baby's things were taken, nor were a brand-new, still-in-the-box juicer and two fairly new crock pots.
The young, laid-back officer who came to take the report seemed as shocked as we were.
"How much crime do you have here?", I asked.
(Technically, that's not true. According to a site that keeps track of such things, our tiny town is a virtual hotbed of criminal activity...because the site lumps misdemeanors such as letting one's dog run loose, public intoxication, parking in a no-parking zone, or speeding in a school zone in with real crimes like domestic violence and home invasion. We just happened to be his first home invasion.)
Listing the missing items was a challenge. My son hadn't bothered to record the brand, model or serial number of any of the electronics and my things hadn't been in the house long enough for their absence to be noticed. Nor did we have photos of any of the stolen items.
In other words, we could not prove any of the items were legally ours.
Then there was the issue of multiple jurisdictions. The stolen items had been taken from a home inside the city limits, not outside, which would've put it in the jurisdiction of the county sheriff. The nephews lived in a different town in the same county, but without serial numbers or other proof of our ownership, its much larger police force could not search their homes for our stuff.
So what could possibly be "good" about being robbed?
First, it's a great lesson in priorities. We only lost possessions, not our lives.
Second, it's a great way to get rid of things you couldn't bring yourself to toss or replace.
One of the TVs, for instance, had a crappy picture no matter the channel, even with cable. My much older TV (which, thankfully, had been in storage in KS) had, and still has, a much sharper picture, but doesn't have the plug-ins on the front that my son swore by to connect the DVD and video games players, instead of having to reach around to connect them to the back. Wahhh...
Without the TVs, stereo, desktop computer, and other electronics plugged in and sucking electricity 24/7, the electric bill immediately went down by almost two-thirds.
Being robbed can also be an on-going source of humor.
Whenever we can't find something, the first question is not 'where did you see it last?', but when. If BTR (before the robbery), might as well smile and go on, because whatever it is probably gone forever. And we can chuckle that the roof rack is useless to the perps, because they overlooked one of the rubber suction cups that secures it to the top of a car. Somehow, by not keeping all four suction cups together, we put one over on them. hahahaha.
We've also learned that life can go on without "convenience" appliances like an electric can opener. (A Mr. Coffee, even a small one, is the exception.) Or that a pizza pan can be used as a lid on a skillet that no longer has one. (The perps left us one ancient skillet, one stew pot, and one sauce pan, but took the lids.)
And last but not least, being robbed gives us a valid reason to comb thrift shops and yard sales for replacement items at a fraction of retail. In fact, the very next weekend at a sale a block away, I bought a much nicer lingerie chest...for $1. Woohoo!