I got home from a short trip last night and found my house had been burglarized.
Not a lot was taken (more than I thought at first, but still not a devastating material loss). But, I have to say, I'm feeling quite violated.
More across the squiggle.
They say you should not go into the house if you get home and find it burglarized. You should call the police and have them go through it with you -- in case the burglar is still there. I didn't do that, mostly because I'd been home several minutes and had unloaded the car before I realized what had happened. It wasn't actually a safety issue, though, because a quick survey told me the incursion happened several days ago, and the thief/thieves had not been back since. When I arrived home, there was still snow on the ground from Monday's storm and there were no footprints around any of the doors.
When I walked in, I was preoccupied by the task of getting everything out of the car and into the house with several inches of snow in the driveway. I think one of my neighbors must have shoveled the sidewalk across the front because it was clean (thank you, neighbor, I was worrying while I was away about the mail carrier having to walk through deep snow in front of my place). But the driveway, leading up to the back door -- the door I usually come in and out by -- was full of slushy snow, so I came in through the front.
(For anyone not in this region, we had a snow storm on Monday, followed by a warm up, which turned everything into slush.)
After I got everything inside, I went back out the back door to lock the car. I found the back door unlocked and thought "Darn! I must have forgotten to lock it in my rush to get on the road Saturday morning." It bothered me, though, because I don't usually forget that, even when I'm distracted.
When I came back in, I turned up the furnace, which I'd turned down before the trip, and that's when I felt the cold draft from the bathroom. The window over the tub was wide open. Now, I KNEW I hadn't opened that window when I was getting ready to leave. The screen was cut, and I knew instantly what had happened.
Next, I realized the disarray in the living room wasn't the result of my packing at high speed when I was getting ready to leave Saturday. It was someone moving things around to look for stuff.
At first, I thought it odd that my TV was still there. But then I saw my laptop was missing. That was a devastating blow. My laptop is full of passwords. I use a password manager, and if they could get into that, they would have every important password I have. I immediately checked my bank account to see if that had been violated -- and it hadn't. (On further thought, I remembered that the laptop itself is password protected. Not a particularly strong password, but enough to slow down a stupid kid who breaks into houses to get quick money. What I have to worry about is the person who buys the laptop from the stupid kid.)
So, the next several hours were spent changing all my most sensitive passwords. (The password on the password manager, my email, credit card sites, my bank accounts, Google, etc.)
At first, I thought the laptop was all I had lost. I decided not to put myself through reporting it to the police. The thought of having police officers tramping through my house was just as bad as the thought of the burglar being there. I'm not making an insurance claim, because the value of the laptop was considerably less than my deductible on my homeowner's policy. (It's not so awful that they stole the laptop. I can get a new laptop. It's awful that it was MY laptop and it had all sorts of things from my life on it!)
Later, I found something else missing. Something pretty valuable, but still probably not worth making an insurance claim, because I don't have any specific documentation that I had it in the first place. It was my parents' sterling silver -- service for 12 or 16 (I don't remember exactly how many). Antique (it came from my grandparents). I didn't even think about that when I realized I'd been burglarized. I hadn't thought about the silver for some time.
I never added it to my homeowner's policy because I never intended to keep it. Yes, I know it had sentimental value, but nobody in the surviving family really wanted it when we were dividing up the inheritance. We all took things we had a strong emotional connection with. The silver lived in a drawer in the dining room buffet at their house. It only came out during dinner parties, and even then probably not during the last 15 or 20 years of my parents' lives. Neither my brothers' nor I do that sort of entertaining, and when you consider the trouble of polishing it periodically, none of us really wanted it badly enough to take it. So, I took it with the plan of selling it and splitting the proceeds with my brothers.
I started out to do it, but found it was more difficult than I'd imagined. I didn't want to just take it to one of those "We buy precious metals" shops and get its meltdown value. I wanted to sell it as antique and get its artistic value. Since I'm not an antiques buff, I couldn't figure out a way to objectively set its antique value, I stalled out, and the silver has been sitting in its wooden cases in my bedroom for almost six years.
Nearly all my mother's costume jewelry was stolen as well. That was also in my bedroom. None of it had any material value. I didn't wear it. I simply had it because it was hers. It's going to end up in the trash at some pawnshop, because it has no resale value. That upsets me more than losing the silver.One of four pieces that fell on the floor when the burglar
was loading the silver into the pillow case he stole from my bedroom.
And worse than losing the jewelry -- I'm really not very materialistic, and my memories of my mother really aren't stealable -- is the thought that this degenerate asshole TOUCHED MY BED to steal the pillowcase.
I know I ought to make a police report, even though I can't really make an insurance claim on any of this. I ought to do it so the items get listed as stolen property -- which might help catch this creep. He's going to keep doing this until he gets caught. But I also remember the utter bored disinterest of the police when I reported the break-in to my car a few years ago. (Theives punched out the ignition on my leased Dodge Shadow about 8 years ago. They didn't get anything because the car had a kill switch. But it cost $2,000 to get the ignition fixed afterward -- which sort of soured me on kill switches.) It didn't leave me with the feeling they were going to do anything at all to find the perp. And that was long before the city financial crisis that has resulted in police layoffs.
The bathroom window is now locked. (I'm slapping myself for leaving that window unlocked. It's smaller than most, and higher off the ground. But they used the back patio steps to get up to it.) I've checked every single window now to make sure they're all locked. I'm freaking out a bit, but not so much that I'm thinking about selling my house and moving to the northern suburbs (which several of my neighbors have done). This is MY house and no punk kid is going to run me out. (I'm theorizing that the burglar was young, because the window is small and a full-sized adult would have trouble getting through it.)
I'm also absolutely NOT going to buy a gun. I continue to believe that a gun in my house would pose more danger to me than to an intruder.
I am thinking about an alarm system. But, I'm going to have to think about that some more though before I act.
So, right now, I am just royally pissed off.