My First Time: November 16, 2016

Never did I think I would be referring to a break-in/robbery/burglary as “my first”. But it wouldn’t be the last, so let’s start here.

I got home from work. It was a seemingly normal Wednesday. A Time Warner van was parked at my new neighbor’s house. I was thinking of going out to dinner somewhere – maybe the delicious Little Dipper in Brightleaf. I unlocked the door as usual and dropped my purse in its usual spot when I noticed a penny on the floor….

Now, most people probably wouldn’t think much of a penny on the floor. But I am a serious neatnik, and don’t just leave stuff laying around. Something was wrong.

I turned around toward the living room. To my shock and horror, the cabinet had been moved and the TV was gone. Just gone. I called 911 and started searching the house.

They ransacked the bedroom, left drawers open, went through my underwear and socks. They took my jewelry box. I fully acknowledge that jewelry is basically just metal and rocks that may or may not be worth a little bit of $$. And yet, there were things in there that told the story of my life. The bracelet my mom gave me the day I started fourth grade. The necklace my (now deceased) dad gifted me. The diamond bracelet he let me pick out – I remember agonizing and feeling guilty that it cost $125. That seemed like too much to spend on anything! Practically every Christmas and birthday since I was born was in that box.

They spent plenty of time exploring the rest of the house, but it seems they didn’t find much else worth stealing. Except for my 20 year old LL Bean backpack with the Rainbow Brite keychain, the keychain so old I can’t remember where it came from. But that backpack went with me all over the place. It was the first thing my at times painfully shy self had ever worked up the courage to call and order from a catalog (this was before online shopping). I couldn’t figure out why someone would bother stealing a decades-old backpack; but later realized they probably used it to carry out the jewelry.

An officer arrived. We looked around together. I couldn’t tell how they had invaded my house at that time. But we could tell they let themselves out the front door and carried my stuff right out – perhaps along with a little bit of my sanity. They didn’t even bother closing the front door. Later, I saw they had cut one of my window screens but found a locked window, which of course means the invader(s) were armed with a knife. I later realized they found an unlocked window, slid up the screen and let themselves in.

The officer told me that anyone who thought people weren’t walking around their house, checking it out, was fooling themselves.

To my surprise, a very kind and professional detective called the next day. With everything else going on, the fact that Durham PD would even bother looking into something like this impressed me. Deep down, though, I had a sinking feeling the invaders would get away scot free. So far that feeling has proved right.