Friday, April 13, 2012

Unwanted House Call

We had a nice Friday dinner at my mom’s house. We stayed a bit later than usual and got back to our house around 11pm.  For some reason, the motion-sensitive light at the car park didn’t turn on. “I should replace the light bulb tomorrow” I thought as I walked over to the front door. The minute I stepped through the door I knew something was wrong. “Someone broke into the house” I said, “Call the police!”

Our messed-up home office
There were muddy footprints at the entrance hall. I ran to the kitchen, and saw our back door wide open. I rushed to the master bedroom - the nightstands’ drawers were wide open and the content of our closets were spilled on the floor. I hurried upstairs and found our study in a state of complete disarray - boxes and furniture were randomly piled on the floor. Our safe-deposit box was gone!

A police patrol car got to our house within 10min. They seemed quiet accustomed to such a scene. “There were several burglaries in the neighborhood tonight” one of the officers said.  She sat us down and took a statement. “Don’t touch anything with your hands” the officer said, “a crime scene investigator will come looking for fingerprints in the next day or two”. The officers left.

My daughter didn’t want to spend the night alone in her room. She slept in our bed, while I laid down on the living room sofa. The thought that strangers roamed through our house touching our private stuff gave us an eerie feeling.

The crime scene investigator (CSI or (מז"פ showed up the next morning. The officer showed us a long list of addresses he had to visit that day. “It has been a busy Friday night for the burglars” he said, “and by the way - your neighbors’ house was broken into as well last night”. Must have been a 2-for-1 deal for those bastards I thought.

The CSI officer was cordial and professional. “They had a reconnaissance visit before” he said, and showed us marks on the grass that were there for a few days. Realizing that our house was under watch for a few days didn’t make us feel any better. He walked us through the break-in path and showed us places where hand marks were still visible. Unfortunately the burglars used cloves and left not fingerprints behind. “These are professionals” said the officer, “they spent less than 10min in the house, quickly searching for valuables”.

Next to show up was the insurance company investigator. He seemed all too familiar with such scenes as well. He took a statement from us and left us some paperwork to fill. “Unfortunately I have to recommend to the insurance company that you install a burglar alarm system”. He said. “I realize these are rather useless against professional burglars, but that’s the procedure I am afraid”.

Alarm systems don’t stop these bastards. Our next door neighbor had an alarm system in place. It was quickly and quietly neutralized. Another neighbor down the street had a full home security system with cameras, sensors and what not. It was neutralized as well when his house was broken into. These criminals are no amateurs. The only thing that might slow them down is security cameras placed in street corners and frequent police patrols.

So here we are. Short of some valuables, missing important documents, burdened with fixing broken windows and installing a (next to useless) alarm system. Not fun. Not fun at all. And unlike terrorist threats or the specter of a missile attack, a break-in hits you close to home. Actually it hits you right at home.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear your story. It's been a long time since anything was stolen from me, but I still remember clearly the strong feelings it aroused. Condolences.