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house broken into
Old 05-04-2009, 07:22 PM   #1
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house broken into

I went away for a couple of days and came home to discover many drawers partly open, the foyer closet open and the couch cushions all messed up.

On closer inspection I discovered that the back door had been forced open, trashing the door frame to the point where I am told that I need to have the door removed and a new frame constructed and maybe a new door.

For some reason after all of the rifling through the drawers nothing was taken. I ran the profile of all the major perp groups but nothing makes sense.

Young kids - not a drop of alcohol missing.

Money hungry dopers - eight containers of loose change - clear plastic mostly left untouched in the kitchen. Same for all electronics and power tools.

They seem to have been selectively looking in the top bureau drawers, humidor and inside the couch cushions. Perhaps they were looking for high value easy to carry items.

I wonder if my LBYM lifestyle meant that all of my stuff was so old that it was not worth them taking it.

On the other hand it seems like they might have been somehow scared off. My neighbor reported seeing a white van parked in my driveway as she left her house at 10am Sunday morning. Maybe they saw here viewing the van and got spooked.

In any case it is a royal pita. I had to replace two smashed locks and rekey three others for $220. I have yet to figure the cost of the door frame replacement. My step-father has offered to help do it myself, but I wonder if I can handle the project or if I have the time to spend doing it.

This really brings home the point that no matter what you do they can get into your house. If I make the door too hard they will just go in through a window.

I am considering installing an actively monitored alarm or maybe some sort of video cameras that could feed the computer which in turn could upload to a web site at work in case they steal the computer. It would have given my great pleasure to have a video to give to the police, plus it would be nice to know exactly what I am up against.

I think I have some sort of mild PTSD from this. Last night I could not sleep, just waiting for them to come back. I even loaded the 40 round banana clip on my 22cal carbine just in case. However, I do not really want to be in the shooting business and I realize that a tiny plinking rifle is not the best tool to hunt humans with. Probably this is just a way of acting out and dealing with the feeling of being violated. I never gave a lot of thought to what women feel like after being raped, but now it blows my mind to consider given the effect of my relatively minor event.

Any thoughts or helpful advice will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 05-04-2009, 08:11 PM   #2
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Yech, that's awful, even if nothing was taken.

I would suggest

Tell the police, even if you feel nothing can be done for you - you may have a piece of the puzzle (time / van / ??) that will help the police track these people down.

Ask for more drivebys from the patrol officers.

Tell all your neighbors, neighborhood association, and anyone else around you - any businesses?? - everyone needs to be nosey for the next several months!! You want your entire area to be on the robbers 'don't bother, they are a bunch of total PITA nosey-parkers there' list, not on the 'try again in a bit' list.

Others on the board would know more than I do about alarms and stuff.


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Old 05-04-2009, 08:25 PM   #3
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Bummer, but it was good to know you were LBYM so well, that they didn't take anything. My guess is they were looking for gold jewelry- it's almost $1000/ounce and you can sell it at Tupperware parties now.

A .22 carbine would probably deter a would- be intruder, and is better than being unarmed, but there is nothing like the sound of a 12-gage pump shotgun being racked to get someone's undivided attention...

The sense of violation will probaly (hopefully) fade over time, but you may end up having to move- some folks never get over it.

Defintely report the crime- the police need to be able to pattern the burglaries to catch the crooks, and one more count won't help them at all during sentencing.
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Old 05-04-2009, 08:43 PM   #4
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That sucks man.

One angle to think about was any ID theft into available for them to see/take? Sometimes the personal info on someone with good credit standing can be worth a lot more than physical items.

I had similar happen to a friend he even had a missing pillow case that was assumed to carry something but never could figure out anything missing.
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Old 05-04-2009, 08:48 PM   #5
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I forgot to mention that I called the police immediately upon discovering the intrusion. They sent one trooper, then two more arrived. One was a trainee and they had him do the routine a second time.

They did not find much in the way of clues and were more interested in asking me who might have done it.

It was funny that when I went upstairs with one he made me go down the stairs first. I guess that is 360 degree tactical awareness and I guess I cannot blame him for that.

Maybe the report of the van might help.

I have been reading up tonight on alarm systems and probably will invest the money more for my peace of mind than for protecting against loss of things.
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Old 05-04-2009, 08:53 PM   #6
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Wow, sorry to hear this. DH's apartment was broken into almost 40 years ago and he still feels the violation of someone going through his things.

Perhaps the thieves were looking for guns and drugs--the way you describe how you found things disturbed, the search seemed fairly targeted. But maybe you will realize something is missing in a few weeks.
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Old 05-04-2009, 08:57 PM   #7
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Perhaps they were scared off as you thought. The fact that they looked inside drawers and couch cushions seems to indicate that they were looking for a stash of cash, the proverbial roll of bills in the mattress. Could it be that hiding cash at home is more popular than I thought?

Anyway, sorry about your ordeal. Our first home was broken into nearly 30 years ago. Must be some kids as they took a bottle of whiskey, my TI calculator( worth $30 then), and my wife pearl necklace. It was very likely we surprised them coming home through the garage, and they fled the way they came, through the back kitchen door. There was no pry mark, so perhaps we left it unlocked.

I was traumatized with the sense of feeling violated, just as you are now.To make a long story short, that was when I got my 357 and a shotgun. However, I did take time to practice at a gun range and learned about gun safety to avoid making my own stupid mistakes.

It took me a while to recover, and to realize that I was over-reacting. However, I know how you feel now.

About intrusion alarms, you can buy a system that you can install yourself. If you have a RadioShack nearby, they can help.
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by joesxm View Post
...................I have been reading up tonight on alarm systems and probably will invest the money more for my peace of mind than for protecting against loss of things.
Let us know what you find. We had 6 cars on our block burgled and two vandlized. Most were unlocked. It turns out we had a rash of 20 driveway burglaries in the subdivision in the past three weeks. I bought some "cheap" driveway monitors and and motion activated lights as a quick response until I figure out a more comprehensive solution. There are some inexpensive video options out available including simulated video cameras.
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:09 PM   #9
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The exterior motion sensing lights sound like a cheap good idea. I also like the more sophisticated outside motion detectors that give three warnings.

As far as financial records, almost all were in my secure room which for some reason they did not kick the door in on, so I thinkthat I am ok, butI did put a 10 day transaction freeze on the brokerage account to protect the mother load and I contacted the credit card but we decided that just monitoring it was the best action.
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:36 PM   #10
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Our home was broken into several years ago. We have an actively monitored security system which sent out a hail to the police and a holler to the neighborhood. A couple neighbors and the cops responded. The neighbors who had a key opened up the house and it looked like nothing was disturbed so the police wrote up a false alarm. Later a neighbor found the garage door open. When we got home we noticed that we had failed to lock a French door and there were shoe scuff marks near it. Then we looked at the garage loft where, wa la, some boxes had been disturbed. We concluded that when the alarm sounded the perp hid in the loft, then exited out the garage door (the only place where motion detectors would not have set off the alarm system again).

Since then we check all the doors, key-lock the door between the house and garage, disconnect the power from the garage door openers, and set the alarm when we leave town. This is in a community with a very, very low crime rate.

Like others, it is the sense of violation that made our hair stand on end.
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Old 05-04-2009, 10:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by joesxm View Post
Any thoughts or helpful advice will be appreciated.
Take a breath, get hold of your emotions and don't do anything silly until you've settled down over this.

After our break-in years ago, I reacted in several ways which in retrospect I now realize were not very smart. Things like letting the grass grow long and a few newspapers pile up in the driveway and then sitting inside in the dark (very armed) waiting for something to happen really wasn't in my best interest........ but emotions reigned! Other equally rash acts followed. If these kind of thoughts cross your mind, just forget it. I'm certainly glad that my attempts to be a vigilante were unsuccessful but I admit, it's not easy to get past the "rage stage."

BTW, our burglar was somewhat stimied by our double cylinder locks. He/she broke out the window in the back door and crawled in assuming his/her exit would be through the door after simply unlocking it from the inside. But with the double cylinder locks, exit was only possible by crawling back out through the window again.
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Old 05-04-2009, 10:55 PM   #12
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A .22 carbine would probably deter a would- be intruder, and is better than being unarmed, but there is nothing like the sound of a 12-gage pump shotgun being racked to get someone's undivided attention...
Yeah, but...if you don't take them with you when you leave the house, the perps get the hardware. Happened to my BIL.
I have outlived most of the people I don't like and I am working on the rest.
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:15 AM   #13
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Sorry to hear about the break-in but I'm glad that nothing valuable was taken .

We had an ADT security system installed about 3 years ago so I sleep terrific at night....even when DH is out of town on business. Plus, we have a dog that loves to bark and scare the heck out of people!
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:34 AM   #14
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I agree with the pump action shotgun. A work acquaintance had his house broken into while he was there sleeping. The robbers started coming up the stairs when he poked the barrel of his .44 mag around the corner and asked if coming upstairs was worth dying, and they took off........

I disagree about the .22 cal with 40 rounds, it may not have the shock and awe factor of a shotgun, but it certainly would help defend your house...........

Don't Uzi's have a small caliber, like a 22?
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:12 AM   #15
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I am so sorry about this.....I went through it myself in 2002 when I lived in the condo....they ransacked my entire apartment, went through all the pictures, threw stuff everywhere on the floor, put a towel in my oven and set it on high so it created smoke all throughout the condo.
I had to rescue my cat, call the fire department, and the police.....awful feeling.
I also waited for a baseball bat wishing they would come back so I could give them a piece of my mind!
I did get an alarm system and it was awesome. It takes a while to feel safe and the feeling of violation does go away in time. You will go through the entire grieving process....denial, anger, and finally acceptance. I am glad that you are ok and maybe next time...let your neighbors know you are going away so they can just keep an eye on your home.
I don't have one in the apartment that I am in now, but I am right next to the rental office and have great neighbors, on the second floor, and great locks!
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:55 AM   #16
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Citrine, why didn't your smoke alarm go off?

In most condos they automatically contact the fire department if they aren't cleared in the first minute.
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Old 05-05-2009, 02:34 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by FinanceDude View Post
Don't Uzi's have a small caliber, like a 22?
The most popular Uzi submachine gun fires a 9mm (would convert to ".35 caliber"). You might be thinking of the round used by many modern assault rifles including the US M-16 (.223 caliber), which has only a slightly larger diameter than a regular rimfire .22 round. Despite the similarity in diameter, .223 round is 20% to 40% longer and heavier. More importantly, it is backed with a lot more gunpowder, and comes out of the muzzle at 3200 feet per second, compared to approx 1000 FPS for the .22 rimfire round. As a result, the kinetic energy (a good measure of likely damage to the target) of these .223 assault rifle rounds is about 16 times as much as the typical .22 rimfire plinking round. They aren't in the same class.

Sorry to hear about this. The X10 style home security systems offer a lot of bang for the buck, but they aren't for everyone. You have to fiddle with them to get them to work properly, and they are designed to call you and to sound an inside alarm, not to call the police. Still, for the number of sensors and the features, they can be a good deal. I wouldn't count on them to protect a jewelery store, but I think they are better than nothing. They also sell inexpensive video surveillance systems, etc.
Here's a link to the commercial site that sells these products (sorry about the skantily-clad models, it seems to be a running joke/feature of this company) , and here's a link to a fairly robust user forum where you can get an idea about some of the quirks of these systems.
You really can get a bare-bones system for $100 to $150 that is likely to deter a casual thief. No monthly monitoring fees, either.
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Old 05-05-2009, 02:52 PM   #18
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I'm sorry that someone wanted to take from you what they are too lazy to work for. It is a real violation. I was burglarized several years ago and it still angers me to think about it. It will be difficult to feel secure for some time. The have nots will always migrate to those who have. Being in LE and having written many burglary reports it is very suspect that nothing was taken. Almost certainly they were scared off. Perhaps consider a dog as a companion. You are right to be extra cautious. If you use that .22 they were comming toward you and you feared for your life, right?
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Old 05-05-2009, 03:42 PM   #19
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A couple of things you can do on a budget.
* If your garage is nearby, keep a key fob on the nightstand so you can actvate your cars panic alarm if you hear noises.

*The inexpensive motion detectors that hang on your inside doorknob work quite well and are very loud.

*Start a neighborhood watch.

* I'd think twice about the gun unless you are really living in a bad location. My nightstand .38 has blanks. A .22 pistol is hidden, but has real lead.

* what I did..Move to Hooterville
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Old 05-05-2009, 04:26 PM   #20
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Well, your emotions must be normal, because I went thru the exact same things when I was robbed of all my things.
By the way, one of the main ways burglars get in your house is thru the garage and thru the side door that leads to the garage, which is why I have a dead bolt on ours now. And--just because you are running out for 15 minutes--does NOT mean that Mr. Burglar won't get in there and get out before you get back. Moral of this story is to always lock that side door that leads to the garage.
Sorry about your loss...I know it feels terribly violating. Took me awhile to get over it, too.
Oh, and I had the Chicago Police there with the fingerprint expert and dogs, but nothing. I hope Mr. Burglar chokes on those diamonds that he stole, and the money he got from them brought him nothing but bad luck...grrrr...

Please consider adopting a rescue animal. So very many need a furr-ever home and someone to love them! And if we all spay/neuter our pets there won't be an overpopulation to put to death.
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