Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Audacious Burgler

This morning when I got up I saw that our back gate was open, which I thought was strange, and then went to find my handbag for my purse. But it was gone. We searched every room in the house but it did not appear. I know I had my handbag at 4pm yesterday as I paid for something on-line using a credit card which I always keep in my purse in my bag, and I had not been out of the house since. The only thing I can think is that I left my handbag on the kitchen table and someone sneaked into the kitchen through our unlocked but closed back door and stole it - while we were all in other rooms absorbed in what we were doing. A horrible thought - and it's not as if the house is very large.

Hodmandod Senior has spent the afternoon changing the lock on the front door and has bought a steering column lock to go on the car. I have stopped all the credit cards and reported the loss to the police who are going to visit on Tuesday. Apparently it is all too common. It seems incredible to me that someone would dare to come into a house, albeit quite easily, which was obviously so fully occupied - but it only takes a minute and if caught I guess you can just run - fast.

I had so much in that bag - my purse with all my cards, my keys, small things that meant a lot to me, but worse of all my little filofax where I keep a lot of my notes on things that occur to me and my addresses...all gone. That filofax has been with me to Greenland, Europe and Patagonia with no mishaps, only to be stolen from under my nose in my own house. Ah well, it could be worse, I tell myself. It is unsettling though. I have done no writing at all - a very unproductive day.


Blogger Anne S said...

Such thefts are common where I live and we always make sure that there is a locked barrier between us and the street.

Before we took such measures, ie installing a barrier door, a potential thief sauntered in through the front door, rummaged around in the spare room whilst we were in house. I was was in the living room and B was in the front room. Only the cat noticed - her ears pricked up and I noticed that she was staring down the hallway, but I thought she was looking at dogs in the street. I certainly didn't hear anything.

Anyway, the thief was apprehended by B who was standing at the front door looking out into the street when he turned around and saw the thief coming down the hall. The guy gave some really lame excuse for being in the house, saying he'd been bashed up. He was slightly bruised so we half believed his story. I even gave him a cigarette! He was bold as brass, but he didn't manage to steal anything.

Anyway, it's horrible to lose one's bag or purse as the things one keeps in them are generally essential and useful.

Good luck in recovering your bag.

Anne S

Mon May 29, 05:24:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Anne: I think we're going to have to install locked barriers too now, but finding the idea difficult to get used to, really. Definitely not the way I want to live. On the face of things our street seems like a normal suburban road - but there have been a few suspicious figures around recently, and some arrests for drugs a few streets away...

Actually I think coming across someone in your house like B did must be worse in some ways. As it is with our little incident I'm finding it hard to really believe it happened, but it did. But at least no one was hurt. That's what I keep telling myself - it could have been a lot worse.

Mon May 29, 07:08:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Clare, I'm so sorry about this. Horrid in your house and to have lost so much personal stuff too. A big hug to you, Sarahx

Mon May 29, 08:59:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have cats and/or a cat flap? At a previous address a neighbour had her bag snatched when a group of kids used a stick through the cat flap to hook the handle and pull it through the flap. Thus keep all valuables out of reach of a cat flap!
One other tip, in some areas the police forces have crime prevention units. They'll come and assess your risks, make suggestions for improvements and sometimes will install additional locks free of charge. I made use of this and was astounded to have a recommendation that my bathroom window should have a lock installed. Apparently, the sloping roof over the kitchen, about 70 degrees to the vertical, was considered flat and anyone with a mind to, would have no trouble getting to my bathroom window.
BTW did you change the lock on the back/kitchen door?
I hope someone finds the things you treasure that are no value to anyone else and hands them in. It's the loss of those things that hurts the most as well as the invasion of privacy and realisation of a security threat.
Sleep tight!

Mon May 29, 11:04:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Clare,
This is dreadful! A purse is such an organizing center--the phone numbers, the notes, the credit cards. I am sad and regret that such an incident has come along as one of life's serendipities--the curious way in which other people's lives intersect one's own. I like your title--maybe a short story?(here in the U.S. it might be a subject for a New YOrker short story)?? ?Although unsettling, keep a steady course for your Welsh studies. Sounds wonderful! best, Elizabeth

Mon May 29, 11:16:00 pm  
Blogger Susan said...

On the bright side, you've lived up until now without feeling such a threat. I can't imagine leaving doors unlocked where I live and I always take my purse with me wherever I go in the house. (At the very least they're going to have to work for it!) In my community, which might be considered relatively safe - middleclass, content - the little local papers are always warning about so-called 'green thumb bandits' who enter through open doors when the owners are working in their gardens. Because of this, I even lock my house when I'm in the yard. Sad commentary on modern life, isn't it?

Mon May 29, 11:28:00 pm  
Blogger Jason Erik Lundberg said...

Oh no! That totally sucks! :{

My wife lost her purse last year, and inside were her passport, visa, work permit, social security card, and every other form of photo ID that she had. We were very lucky to recover it in a few days in a coffeeshop lost and found, but for those days, she was a complete and utter wreck.

I hope that they're able to recover it for you. And you're right: at least no one was hurt.

Tue May 30, 04:08:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


that really sucks. my sympathy. may the thief eat the suicide pill in there.

Tue May 30, 12:01:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Sarah!

Crimeficreader: No cat flap but there is a letter box. A couple of years ago in a nearby road a couple of lads managed to hook someone's car keys from a table in their hall through their letterbox and made off with the car in the driveway. It had tragic consequences - they crashed in the Mersey tunnel and one of them was killed - they were only in their mid-teens.

Thankfully my back door key was about the only thing that wasn't in my handbag! CID have now been around - very pleasant couple - apparently there have a been a few similar incidents in the area - and have given me a checklist. Trouble is you have to strike a balance I think between living safely in a fortress or having a normal life. I think I shall lock my back door in future though.

Elizabeth: Yes, I tend to keep just about everything in there, so bit irritating. Thanks for your good wishes about the Welsh - am looking forward to this very much now.

Susan: Yes, my parents know someone who waa reading in her not-very-big garden and someone walked past her into the house...You'd think they could never get away with this, but the police assure me that it is very common.

Jason: That sounds awful about your wife - it must have felt horrible, everything going like that. As if she'd lost who she was, in a way. Very glad she found them in the end. But so easily you can lose everything. Now I understand why there is such a fuss made about identity theft. As Elizabeth says - stories aplenty in here, I think.

Well I'm going to take a quick walk around the streets now the police have come and gone looking around for my bag...

And yes, Ben, I shall be on the look out for the odd corpse too. Obviously I did put 'DO NOT EAT IF YOU WANT TO STAY ON THIS PLANET' on the outside of the pill box, but it could be they ignored this. Actually, thinking about it, the way the law is now - I think I would get charged for negligence if this happened - the same way I'd get charged if a burglar fell though my roof while 'at work'. This seems incredible to me, but I am assured it is true.

Tue May 30, 02:07:00 pm  
Blogger Lee said...

The 'cat flap' technique works in bizarre ways. About two years ago someone nicked a completed bank transfer form from one of those bank posting boxes, evidently with a hooked wire, and forged it to 'transfer' a huge amount from my account to theirs.

I can remember how upset I was, so I sympathise completely, and I think your experience is in some ways worse - invasion of personal space.

Wed May 31, 07:02:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lee: how dreadful about your account. I hope you managed to sort it out quickly. Urgh- modern life, sometimes it does not seem to have much to recommend it!

Thu Jun 01, 09:55:00 pm  

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