According to an article I read online somewhere, the modus operandi of some local burglars involves pounding on doors and then breaking a window to get in the house if nobody answers. If somebody does answer, they’ll pretend to be looking for work or donations for some bogus charity. (Note: when I was in college, I had a quasi-boyfriend who worked for one of those left-wing charitable organizations where they actually go door-to-door looking for donations, but then he quit and still went door-to-door looking for donations — classy!)
I’m going to assume that this is what happened before some dude broke a window; climbed over the kitchen sink; went through almost every one of my drawers; threw most of my clothes and lots of random crap all over the floor; terrified the hell out of four of five cats (the elderly deaf one was unfazed); filled his pockets (I assume) with earrings and rings (he cleaned me out of gold earrings, including a pair that was my grandmother’s, and took several rings, but somehow left the really good stuff); disconnected and lovingly wrapped our flatscreen LCD TV in a blanket and set it by the back gate; and filled a Vera Bradley (in Nantucket Red, which is the hot pattern for all the felons these days) with my laptop, assorted cords (including the charging base for a Palm Pilot I used almost 10 years ago), a couple cameras, an old cell phone, an empty iPod Shuffle case, the TV manual (but not the remote), a combination lock with no combination (I don’t even know what it is), and a neatly folded Jon Garland Chicago White Sox t-shirt.
When B got home that day, he noticed that the inside front door was open but the outer security door (the metal kind we have in the ‘hood) was locked. WTF, he thought, she wouldn’t leave the door open. Then he got in the house and saw shit strewn all over and my desk without a computer on it. Then he saw an ugly (his description and I believe him) 40-something dude standing by our back door. B yelled something that I won’t repeat on a family website such as this and dude (since that day, I have referred to him as “dude”) put the bag down and took off. B chased him through the front yard, over the fence, and through the alley and almost caught him, but dude got away behind a garage. While running, dude lost his hat and a neighbor who was on his roof asked B if that was his hat. B said that it was dude’s, but when he looked at it realized that it was mine (White Sox). Dude was wearing my hat. Asshole.
During the chase, B called me saying “Someone’s in our house stealing shit call the police!” or something like that. OMGWTF. I struggled to get to the keypad on my phone (iPhones are for texting and calling favorites, yo) and dial 911.
Thank you for calling Denver 911. Please hold for the next available operator.
I shit you not. That might not be verbatim, but I shit you not.
So I tell them that somebody’s in my house and my boyfriend is there and it’s all WTF and give them his phone number. I then do several things. I tell the rest of my department (two people) that somebody’s in my house and I have to go home. I close the blinds in my office (if you don’t do this before leaving, it’ll be all hot and shit in there with the morning sun, and I hate that). I shut down my computer. I go to the bathroom (sorry, TMI, but you don’t want to get home to a crime scene and have to pee). I walk down nine flights of stairs (I hate elevators and take the stairs down because I can; unfortunately, I can’t take the stairs up because the doors are locked). I get in my car and drive home (approximately two miles).
I shit you not. I got here before the police did.
Some officers took B’s description of the guy and went to look for him. Another officer went through the house, asked some questions, and told us what we could put away (little to no possibility of evidence — this included clothes and paper). Sensing a recurring theme with the White Sox merchandise, I asked if the Sox logo was a gang symbol (something I’d suspected for a while). Apparently it is a symbol for a Hispanic gang that I won’t bother to name here because, let’s be honest, I think that’s pretty weak. (Note: A website that lists cities and schools where this gang has been reported [which if you think about it reads like a list of fraternity or sorority chapters] mentions that they have a presence in my high school. Nice.) (Note: The good news is that I believe this means the vast majority of people I see in Denver wearing White Sox hats actually are White Sox fans. Sweet!)
A few hours later, the crime lab fingerprint people arrived. This part was actually really cool and reminded me of my favorite TV show ever, which thankfully I still have a TV to watch even though I’ve seen all the episodes, The First 48 (Joe Schillaci holla!), but thankfully this was just a burglary and not a murder. We got the TV back inside and dusted the orange fingerprint dust off of everything (sort of — that stuff lingers). We cleaned up and B did a beautiful job boarding up the window.
I didn’t intend to get into a whole story of what happened. I started out wanting to write about how much this M.O. sucks ass. Here’s the thing. When I’m home by myself, I never answer the door. If I know you, I’ll know you’re coming or you’ll call me. If I don’t know you, why would you presume that I want to talk to you just because you knock on my door? How many times does a stranger knocking on your door when you live in the ‘hood (I’m finally admitting that we live in the ‘hood) amount to anything good? Sometimes, even if we’re both home, we don’t answer the door (we’ve seen enough missionaries and late-night crackheads). Apparently some people think this lack of response to a knock on the door is an invitation and, honestly, that creeps me out even more than some ugly asshole pawing through my underwear and stealing my grandma’s earrings (and, also worth noting, a tiny bottle of tequila). From now on, the security doors are ALWAYS locked and I’ll answer the door with a camera in my hand, just in case there’s a dude “looking for work” standing there, because I will take your damn picture and post it on the internet, asshole. And thankfully, we have a yippy little dog who will let me know what’s up if I’m in the shower, so I can find my glasses, grab my Glock, and get ready to pop a cap in your ass. (Do Glocks have caps? Is “Glock” supposed to be capitalized? That’s how it appeared on the ESPN news thing when they were talking about Plaxy.)
Anyway, we’ve fixed up some things around the house to improve security and are getting a monitored alarm system, stuff we should’ve done a long time ago. Oh, and the good news? All the animals were fine, if traumatized (nobody escaped — that’s my biggest worry).
Also, I have a little bit of advice for everybody — just two things, really, which you probably already know. First, don’t ever put anything valuable in a drawer. This dude went through drawers with an attention to detail I wish I had. Thankfully, I’m not really stupid and the most valuable things I own were not findable. Second, know what the hell is going on in your neighborhood. If you live in Denver,
the police website has this awesome search feature where you can see what crimes have been reported near your home (or any other location). I’ve looked at this before, but apparently didn’t pay enough attention to just how many burglaries there are in our neighborhood. I’ve always been paranoid about being burglarized, but maybe if I’d realized how much of a threat it was here, we would’ve gotten an alarm system before this happened (we almost got one about a year ago).
Anyway, be careful out there, and at home.