Breaking and Entering

27 Apr

Today’s Calvin and Hobbes cartoon starts an arc in which their house is broken into while the family was out of town. I know the feeling.

My grandmother died Christmas of 1976, and because her house was fairly isolated, my parents decided to stay there for a few days to keep an eye on things.  While they were away, some of the local hoodlums decided to break into their house! My parents lived in a development, but this happened on New Year’s Eve, so nobody paid much attention to any sort of noise or lights. Neighbors discovered the damage in the morning and had called the police.

The “perps” broke through the picture window in the living room, knocking over the Christmas tree in the process. They dumped all of Mum’s cookbooks on the floor, and threw clothes all over the laundry room. They couldn’t figure out how the pocket door between the foyer and the study worked, and had thrown a chair and a foot stool against it, trying to break it down. They’d flipped all of the mattresses off the beds, and rummaged through Mum’s closet, but hadn’t taken any of her jewelry. In an effort to keep the bedroom door from swinging shut, they’d stomped on a beverage can and used it as a doorstop. Ironically, my dad used that can (it was covered with Contact® paper) as a Mite Box, and it held whatever money they were looking for. Mostly, it looked as if they were more interested in making a mess than anything else. Mum was a schoolteacher at the time, and the police thought it might be a  “revenge” thing.

Our house was broken into three times in one season!

I had retired in March of 1983, but my company had called me back for the summer. Eldest daughter was getting married, so the extra money came in handy.  Youngest daughter had come home from school in early September to find the back door wide open. Again, call the police. Other than the open door, we couldn’t see any sign of breaking in, but all of the drawers had been pulled out of the silver chest, and all of our sterling was gone. I had a service for twelve, and when my grandmother died my sister and I had split her silver, so I had a good bit of it.  This was not too long after the Hunt brothers had cornered the silver market, so it was fairly valuable. The girls had a schoolmate who showed up in our house – uninvited and unexpected – fairly often, and we suggested they look into Eddy’s whereabouts on the day of the robbery. Nothing ever came of it.  Our silver chest resembles a small buffet; most people wouldn’t recognize it as anything but a side table, which is why we fingered that young man. He’d been here often enough to know what it was.

Later in the fall,  we were hit twice in less than ten days. My sister had come up to visit for the day, so we could drop off a small mountain things at a local thrift shop and have lunch together. I’ve called The Squire every day at 1:00 since our first date, so I gave him a buzz and Lynn called her husband. We piled all of our donations in my car and set off. When we came home, the door was open and the dog was running around.  Once again, my silver was gone (the insurance company had paid to have it replaced), as well as both my jewelry box and The Squire’s. I lost everything but my wedding band. They also taken all of The Squire’s computer set up. This was in the early 80s, and that Atari had set him back $1,300! He’d been on jury duty and the bank had let him keep the money.

The worst of it was that they’d broken into a locked cabinet, and used his hack saw to cut through the chain that secured three long guns. One was simply a BB gun, but the other two had more oomph. About six months later, one of those guns was used to kill a neighbor. (  We now have a real “thing” about people who keep guns.

They came back a few days later and took a few things they’d missed, and stayed long enough to fix themselves a sandwich!

Now, we have an alarm system, monitored by the local police department. And observant neighbors.

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