Casa de Harper was burglarized last Thursday. As such things go, this one was pretty tame. We were lucky.
Picture it. (“Sicily; 1912…”- just kidding) It’s a pleasant spring evening. Harper and her Other Dad are in the bedroom snoozing away. Your humble narrator is in the den at the computer.
Our back yard is accessible from the house through sliding glass doors from either the bedroom or the kitchen. On cool evenings it is my wont to leave the doors open when we are home and still up. It allows for ventilation through the house and Harper can go in & out at will. I go around and ‘lock up’ before I go to bed.
A wall surrounds our back yard. The walls are for privacy more than security. Most people have pools and the walls keep out neighborhood youngsters and pets that might accidentally fall in. They also stop coyotes, and such, from wandering in to make mischief.
I had unpacked my gym bag and left my ‘street clothes’ on a counter in the family room; a polo shirt and a pair of cargo shorts. Apparently, at some point along the way, I put down a book nearby as well.
About 11:00 PM some honesty-challenged individual climbed over the wall and walked in through the open kitchen door. Apparently they saw the cargo shorts and made to check the pockets. In doing so, they knocked the book off the counter. This was happening about 20′ from where I was sitting but in another room. I heard the book hit the floor and, thinking Harper’s Other Dad had gotten up, called out to see what happened. Hearing no answer, I went to investigate. Apparently when I called out our burglar realized how close I was and ran back out the way he/she came in; taking the cargo shorts, containing my wallet, my iPhone and about $8 in cash.
When I came around the corner, I saw the book on the floor and thought; “Hmmm; I wonder what caused this book to fall to the floor”. But nothing seemed amiss. I did not notice the shorts were gone. So I picked up the book, walked through the house closing doors and windows and went to bed unaware of my brush with the slimy underbelly of urban society.
The next morning I got up and, as is my habit, checked my email. There was a note from a credit card company advising of suspicious activity and asking that I call the Fraud Dept to verify charges. “Please have your credit card ready when you call.” I went off in search of my wallet and the realization started to sink in.
There is much for which I am thankful.
No one was hurt. One hears horror stories about things becoming violent when people walk in on burglars.
There was no damage to our home. Since I was so accommodating as to leave the door open for him, there was no need to break in.
Since he was scared off so quickly, he didn’t have time to look for other things to steal. Harper’s Other Dad’s wallet was lying a few feet away and was untouched.
Nothing of sentimental value was lost. I did like those shorts but my wallet is utilitarian; ID, credit cards; a couple gift cards that probably had a few bucks left on them. There were no photos or keepsakes.
I cancelled the debit and credit cards. I locked, erased and suspended service to the phone. I replaced it a couple of days later.
The specter of “identity theft” looms large since both my credit cards and my driver’s license are now in the hands of the underworld but I placed Fraud Alerts with the credit bureaus and notified the banks where I do business. I’ll have to wait for the other shoe to drop on that.
It’s creepy to think of a stranger in our home; more so because we were home at the time. Plus I don’t get the sense this was the charmingly roguish, “cute-in-a-serial-killer-kind-of-way” bad boy one sees in movies. He probably couldn’t even sing and dance. Had I rounded the corner and found Kevin Kline or Rex Smith I’d have given him the $8…. and my phone number, though probably not the phone itself.