Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
I got robbed yesterday. Technically, I wasn't "Robbed". My apartment was the victim of a Breaking and Entering, or "B&E" in police chat. You have to be present to be robbed.
About 1:40 I left my condo to renew and return at the local library, then I went to Subway for my free sandwich. I'd completely filled one of their cards, and was contemplating my free six-inch sub while someone, (he, she, they) was in my apartment.
Pawing my things.
When I came home, I noticed very little -- the CD player top was popped open, a near-worthless hematite ring was on the floor. "Cats," I thought, and ate my free lunch. I went into my bedroom, called Jon at work. We talked until about 3. One of the drawers on my antique sewing-machine case/vanity was open. "Hmm. Must've left that open." I went to sleep for a couple of hours, got up before 5, and went to the living room.
At this point, my memory becomes surreal. I recall staring at the unfinished pine CD case I bought ten years ago, contemplating the top two racks. They were as bare as Mother Hubbard's cupboard. Totally empty. I remember wondering what I'd done with all my CDs. Had I lent them to someone? Taken them upstairs to use on my computer's CD ROM? Put them in the kitchen for their yearly wipe-down? No? Then where the hell where they? At this point my inner voice spoke up, as clearly as if it were another person speaking to me.
"You've been robbed, dumbass."
They didn't get much. Technically, the B&E was a "snatch and grab", where the perps break in and grab a few small valuables, like jewelry (that stung), and camera equipment, and CDs, stuff they know they can sell quickly and get cash for. They took all my gold jewelry, all except two irreplaceable rings that I happened to have with me. That stung, it's true, but my anger and pain was somewhat lessened when I found those rings in my purse, one of which I've had since I was 15 or so. They took my 16-year-old Olympus camera, which I adored and which worked perfectly. They also stole all of the change ($10), but left the Bicentennial Ball Jar it was stored in, which is probably worth more than the cash. Oh, and every last CD I owned, except for a mixed one Sarah burned for me, and a couple I'd left at Jon's.
What kicks me is I was only gone like 40 minutes, maybe less. I left after 1:39 and got back by 2:25 at the outside. He or she or they may even have been in my place when I returned, and hid in the attic or loft until it was safe to escape. It totally creeps me out that they may have been in my place while I was in the restroom.
The police officers were kind. They calmed me while I ran around taking inventory, fingerprinted the Ball Jar, took notes, but what could they really do? According to them, I have a 50-50 chance of getting any of my stuff back. The younger officer asked me if I had a gun, to which I replied "No, I don't believe in handguns in the house." The young man, who I admit was really nice, then began debating the Bill of Rights in general and the Right to Bear Arms in particular. Don't get me wrong -- just because I don't have a gun in my house doesn't mean I'm against anyone else exercising their rights. In fact, I'm the only member of my immediate family who doesn't have a handgun or shotgun for protection. I'm also the only one who lives alone, an irony that just struck me. But no, I don't have a gun. Still, I asked the officer if he is suggesting that I get a gun, at which point the older, more experienced officer stepped in.
"No, no Ma'am." He explained that most handguns are either stolen in B&E's, used against the owner by an assailant, or used by the owner against a family member who is mistaken for an assailant. Yea, it's a bad idea all around.
Still, I'm thinking about it, though I'll probably go with the suggestion that I get a Home Alarm system, instead.
In the final analysis, there is nothing I can really do at this point except write these things off as lost (aren't thefts tax deductible?), troll the pawn shops, and go on with my life. The likelihood of catching them is slim to none, and the only eyewitnesses aren't talking.
Thank heavens my two kitty cats didn't escape or get hurt.
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