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When I lived in my first apartment in downtown Chicago it was on the 3rd floor of an old brownstone with no elevator. We had a stairwell in the front with 2 apartments off each landing and a rickety wooden contraption on the backside that opened off our kitchen and led down to the laundry room and storage rooms in the basement as well as up to the roof access. It doubled as a fire escape but the landing was too small to use as a balcony.

I lived there for a couple of years with various roommates: 2 friends from college and a couple of law students that were friends of theirs. At some point, we discovered that someone had broken into the basement storage rooms and stolen several things. I lost a suitcase, among other things, but nothing of real value and certainly nothing which I felt sentimental about. Still: it was MY stuff, in MY place and a drag.

I don't know how much more likely you are to get robbed in the city compared with the suburbs, in terms of break-ins. I suppose I could google it, but I'm not sure I really want to know the answer. In the space of the couple of years I lived in that apartment, in addition to the break-in in the basement, I also had my car stolen (later found by the lake shore with the driver's window busted in and glass covering the front seats; it had been taken for a joyride, run out of gas and abandoned) and stuff stolen OUT of my car.

THAT one upset and angered me, as the things that were stolen were of NO value whatsoever to anyone else: a set of sea-green linen placemats and napkins from my recently deceased grandmother's home and an oil painting of a tree in autumn leaf I had painted and gifted her with one Christmas. Granted it was a GOOD painting, but still. Worth stealing? Really? I was 12, I think, when I painted it.

Yesterday, Anders was out for a motorcycle ride after work with some of his colleagues and didn't get home until 7:30, long after we had finished dinner. It had been raining, so he hung up his motorcycle suit in the laundry room to dry. He and the kids watched TV for an hour or so while I worked on AWC stuff in the computer room and then I threw the kids in the bath, and we read a chapter of The Hunger Games and they were in bed by 9:30. I followed soon after around 10:30.

Anders got ready for bed around 11:30 and as is his habit, went around the house checking doors and windows and turning off the last of the lights, only when he got to the laundry room, he realized the door was slightly open and there was a very strong smell of stale cigarette smoke. And his motorcycle suit was no longer hanging where he had put it. He came and woke me up and asked me if I had moved it; hung it somewhere else, perhaps? "No," I replied groggily and then was wide awake when he said, "Someone's been in the house. It's gone and the door was open."

The side door wasn't locked; it rarely is when we're home...we've been 8 years in this house and 4.5 in the one before and there have rarely been any incidents at all in our village. So someone, trying doors and peering around the darkened side of the house to check on our positions, got lucky. We didn't hear a thing and we were only a room away.

We called the police who sent a car over right away and 2 very nice (and very LARGE) policemen took down our report and gave us advice on what to do next. His motorcycle keys were missing and his house keys. This morning we discovered Martin's school backpack and HIS house keys were missing as well. Because the house keys had been stolen, which are also the keys for the garage, neither one of us slept very well. Anders brought his race bike inside and we put chairs and wooden posts under the door handles, just to be on the safe side.

This morning, Anders called the insurance company and reported the break-in and it turns out we won't have much to pay even for the deductible, and arranged for a locksmith. I drove Martin and his classmate into town and dropped them off at school while he was on the phone, and then I came back and worked from home, since the locksmith wasn't going to get to our place until later in the day and we didn't want the house empty or Karin home alone in the afternoon. It's not so much that they took things, because the most important thing they took was our peace of mind.

The locksmith came around 4 and now all the locks have been replaced and we have a new lock-the-doors family policy in place and we're getting a new motion detector light tomorrow for the side door. And I think I'll go get one of the surveillance security cameras MY OWN COMPANY SELLS as well.

A Veritable Plethora of Belated Birthday Wishes to lady_findel, orangepoppy and e11en!

*Title from a quote by Elias Canetti

(Drop cap courtesy of Jessica Hische's Daily Drop Cap)
mood: shocked
music: Lisa Hannigan—Sea Song

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Joy here

Wow. I am so sorry to hear about your break-in. I am glad that you realized so quickly. If his suit hadn't been missing, maybe Anders might of just pulled the door shut... of course then there was the smell of smoke. Gah!

I can understand the feeling of having your peace of mind being shaken. You can read about the crime statistics and hear about robberies but when it happens at happens at home, it is startling!

Did Martin lose anything besides his keys in his backpack?

Re: Joy here

Yes, several schoolbooks, otherwise nothing of consequence.


This is so awful. :( I'm so glad to hear that you are all alright though. But the feeling of invasion of privacy is horrible when these things happen. Hopefully you will be able to feel safe in the house again and that it's still "yours" even though someone has been invasive in it.

Thank god you are all ok...


Thank you for the birthday wishes but I'm so sorry to hear about the break in! When we are home we are locked in because I'm a paranoid New Yorker like that but I wouldn't expect such things in your neighborhood. It's so unsettling to have the keys stolen. Can Anders do anything about the motorcycle keys?

When we were kids (teenagers mostly) we had a few incidents at our house (in NY). One time some people stole a bunch of bikes out of garage while we were having an extended family dinner directly above the garage! I guess they figured we were making enough noise that we wouldn't notice but they didn't count on how creaky and awful (and unused) our garage door was so we did hear them. Sadly we didn't get out there before the group of them had managed to hoist three bikes into the pickup truck and speed away. Another time, someone opened my brother's window (he was on the ground floor) at about 4am and had a foot in when my brother woke up and, said, "Hello?" in a deep voice and scared them off. Sometimes my older siblings would sneak out at night and come back in this way so my brother just thought it was one of them coming in from some late party. It turns out the guy had hit two other houses on our street before trying ours.

He's got to have the locks changed on the motorcycle, not sure how much that will cost, but I think it is also covered by the insurance, at least.

Oh Liz! I am so sorry to hear this!! You really do live in a very safe neighborhood - I have to think that the thief will be caught. Any word on whether any of your neighbors had a similar visit?

Not that we know of. We've told all the neighbors on our end of the block and none of them had heard/seen or had any problems. :(

How scary!
If you really want a dog, now might be the perfect time to get your hubby to agree to the idea. Poodles are supposedly less allergenic and the small ones certainly do yap at the slightest noise.

I don't think even this will be enough incentive to get a dog :)


You know, I suggested on FB that you get a motion detector light (which you said you were already planning on getting) but actually after thinking about it a bit, you might also consider just getting a light that comes on when it's dark and stays on all night. The amount of electricity it uses is probably pretty small compared to other things in the house, and it might deter someone when they're still out on the street, rather than letting them get all the way up to your side door before they decide to pass your house by. When we lived in an area where I was nervous about that sort of thing, we had lights surrounding the entire house that came on at night, and it really gave me a lot of peace of mind.


I've been thinking about that, too: to have more lighting outside.

From Megsie

Oh! That is just terrible! The freakiest thing is they took your KEYS. Yikes. When we moved into our house here, we were told how safe our neighborhood is, but we had only lived here for about 4 months and I got up one morning and felt cold. It was February. It kept getting colder as I went down the hall and down the stairs, so I thought the furnace had stopped. It wasn't until I was busy doing something and noticed that our sliding glass door was open about 6 inches. They didn't take anything from us, we had nothing to steal, but I don't think I have ever run so fast to check on my kids. They had tried all of our neighbors looking for unlocked doors and got a couple of wallets, cell phones and some crystal. Nothing huge, but wow. We were nervous for a while. Now, I have become complacent once again. So it is a good reminder. Lock the doors! I am just glad that everyone is safe! I am so sorry this happened to you!

Re: From Megsie

Except that now I'm obsessing and checking that the damned door is locked every 15 minutes. :P

What a violation and a blow to your peace of mind.
It sounds like you took swift action to re-secure your peace of mind though Yay for you & Anders! (and the locksmith and the insurance)

I remember the days when we never locked the doors and I sure wish we could do that, but no.

Anyhow, I'm going to let your experience be our wake-up call, and remind my housemate about her recent laxness in door locking when we are home.

Please do! I would hate for this to happen to ANYONE, much less someone I care about!

That's a scary story. Scary that he did it while you were there!

But in the end, I agree, it's the peace of mind that they steal that hurts the worst. I've had it happen to me as well. Not fun.

Definitely not fun. And I hate the feeling of paranoia that has taken over for now. I hope it goes away again.

This is scary; I'm sorry someone violated your home. I'm glad it wasn't worse.

Me, too. Scary to think someone with ill-intent was so close. :(

tried to post a comment, but it's been so long i couldn't remember my LJ username! i think that one may have gotten lost. trying again... just to say that i'm so sorry this happened to you. similar thing happened to us when i was a kid (stolen from garage while we slept). before that, we never even locked our doors (things were different in the 60's in small-town America). it's so upsetting when these things happen, because the items can be replaced...but the peace of mind may not return. HUGS. ~Marilyn

You'll just have to post comments more often! If it takes me getting burgled to get a comment, then, well, so be it :D

I'm so sorry. :-( Being home at the time somehow makes it even worse! But I'm relieved that the miscreants at least were only burglars, rather than robbers, and that you and yours are (physically) unharmed. Your peace of mind, I know, is another matter... :-(

I just had to go look up the definitions of burglary vs. robbery...I knew there WAS a difference but they get used so interchangeably that I wasn't really clear myself. Thanks for giving something GOOD out of this: learning new words definitions/origins is always a plus!


You already know from my Facebook posts, but I wanted to say it again - I'm glad you're alright and I hope that feeling of violation goes away as soon as possible. Hugs.


Thanks, Heather :) I appreciate all the support I'm getting!!


How incredibly violating and scary! I'm so glad you all are okay and that the burglar wasn't out to harm any of you (not physically, at any rate...). The perp must have had some kind of nerve to come in with all of you home; I can't imagine. It sounds like you've taken all the right steps to stay safe, so I'll be sending wishes for peace of mind and restful sleep your way.
~ Bethany ( (OpenID is hating on me too.)

Thanks, Bethany. I'm feeling better about things, but still very wary and checking the doors rather more often than I'd like.

Thank you so much for the birthday wishes. With such a plethora I'm sure the wishes will last all year. c:

Also, so sorry for the burglary that you had. I also was once burgled while I was home. I woke one Saturday morning (16 years ago) to the sound of someone in my bedroom and saw a strange man standing by my bed. He grabbed my knapsack and my portable CD player and ran up the stairs and out the back door. I gave chase to the outside garden while dialing 911 and gave the police dispatcher a description. The moron was wearing a yellow rain slicker so he was caught within minutes. As it turned out, I had several hundred dollars in my wallet and lots of sentimental things in my knapsack but I got everything back. There was a trial and everything took 3 years, but the guy did spend a little time in jail. It turns out that he gambled away his pay cheque and was scared to return home to his wife without trying to 'find' some money to take home to her.
I am quite careful to check the doors ever since. Of course, I consider myself lucky that the guy only wanted money considering that he was in my bedroom.

Good lord!! I can't even imagine how scared you must have been upon waking! I'm glad they caught him!!

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