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America vs. The World

The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart. — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The wages of city living

(updated below)

My apartment got robbed last Thursday about 90 minutes after I left for work. I hadn't been in to the office yet that week (hey, it's a good life), and the thieves wanted to make sure I was really gone before entering.

HIgh definition no more.
Alas, we knew ye well.  
The three of them jumped the alley gate into the backyard, then pushed a garbage can over to the first-floor windows facing onto the yard. They were lucky enough to find a window unlocked and soon all three were inside.

They'd been looking at the big TV in the front room since it was delivered, so they headed straight to the second floor and towards the front. A couple of them grabbed the surprisingly light TV while the third took stock. His eyes bugged out at the bookcase full of DVDs, and he started looking around for something to put them in. He grabbed bags from both bedrooms and dumped their contents on the floor, filling them with DVDs and Playstation 2 games. And the Playstation 2.

His buddies came back from leaving the television downstairs. They went into the bedrooms, dumping out drawers and taking the two digital cameras they found, as well as a watch, school ring and a half-full "I heart Las Vegas" piggy bank. Binoculars and ice skates were briefly considered before being left on the bed.

Downstairs, the landlord's 80-year-old mother heard the crash of drawers hitting the floor. She thought it was probably the boys who lived upstairs, but curled up in her bed. It didn't sound right.

One of the thieves grabbed a battered Powerbook off the living room table, making sure to get the power cord, and tossed it in a duffle bag alongside a bottle of Bacardi. On their way out the trio paused by the bikes but decided against it — no time. Among other things, they also left behind an old iMac, three Playstation 2 games, a 120GB external hard drive, several boxes of comic books and a baseball signed by Mark Buehrle.

Rather than going back over the fence, they jimmied the side door on the garage and opened it to the alley, where their car waited. As long as they were out there, they grabbed a computer monitor and a toy truck (destined for Toys for Tots, believe it or not).

I hope it eats your discs.
You too.  
At least that's what my roommate and I have pieced together since he came home Thursday night around 7, Subway in hand, to find the place trashed. He'd had the 42" high-definition plasma TV less than a month. No renters insurance, of course.

The cops came, and made cop jokes, and didn't bother giving us any false hopes about getting our stuff back. They suggested to my roommate that we'd been robbed because he's Asian and further suggested we move out of Bridgeport. The fingerprint guy came later, which was pretty cool, but didn't find anything worthwhile. He did tell us that our neighbor, a semi-paranoid limo driver, had been robbed only two days earlier in a similar manner.

It took me most of Friday to get the place back to normal. I'm not happy about the camera, but thank God I got a new computer last month and transferred all my irreplaceable files over. Here are the DVDs they left behind: the first season of Buffy, Office Space, Twin Peaks (the entire series), the first season of Lost, Heathers, Gladiator, and two seasons of Sex and the City. We're not sure whether this was a statement about our taste in movies.

It's a weird feeling. Someone took my laptop and dumped my stuff all over the floor. They watched our television through the window and waited for me to leave so they could steal it. It makes me mad, of course. Nothing worse than impotent rage.

But I think I'm more sad. Just sad this happened. I'm a very trusting person. I don't lock my car doors if I'll only be gone a few minutes. I leave the laundromat while my clothes are in the dryer. When I lived in Urbana after college, I used to leave my back door open while I was at work.

We didn't have any security at the back of the house, and I never gave it a second thought. Neither did my landlord, who has owned the place for years without problem.

He installed a heavy-duty security door Saturday, and we also put up blinds to shield the view from the street. I don't think I'll be any less trusting. But I've learned that being trusting doesn't excuse you from taking reasonable precautions. And getting some fucking renters insurance.

This morning as I got out of my car and went into the store, I stopped after a few steps and went back to lock my door. Because while I'm still trusting, I know now that you can get robbed, it does happen. I can't pretend it doesn't. So I lock my door. It's not a big deal. Won't slow me down at all getting back in.

But, yeah. It makes me sad.


Here are some pictures my roommate took of the carnage. He used his phone because, ha ha, no more cameras.

My room, his room and the forlorn DVD shelves, respectively:


Anonymous johnny5 said...

Oh dude, my serious condolences. My parents' house was robbed twice while I lived there and I got cleaned out once while living in Urbana. Sure, it's somewhat depressing/annoying to lock your car or apartment door every time you're gone for 5 minutes, but like you said, you just can't pretend that this stuff doesn't happen anymore. Now it drives me crazy if my brother or my roommates don't lock a door; it's like they're asking for it. At least you still have your health and your rapist wit.

Anonymous Toothpick said...

It sucks! Even though it’s been a few years since living with you guys, I too felt violated when I heard the news. I can come over and leave Petey for a few days/weeks. You can keep him on the back porch. Having a 65lb pitbull can be a major deterrent to potential thieves. Unless they steal him too! Bastards...

Blogger Chance-86 said...

That just sucks ass. And I sooo know that feeling of impotent fury.
My truck got broken into at work about 2 years ago. The really sucky thing was that I had gotten sick at work, and they admitted me to the Hospital. While I was being pumped full of painkillers and antibiotics, some asshole was helping himself to everything in my truck. The window that they broke out was naturally the most expensive one to replace. The radio that they took was worthless without the faceplate. They got some CD's and an old leather jacket that was probably worth about 5 bucks at the local thrift store. And a watch: Probably my most valued possesion on earth. Not monitarily, of course. It was a decent watch, but nothing special...about $150, new. The pisser was that it was the last Christmas present that I had ever bought for my lover before he was killed in a car accident a couple of Christmases earlier. In fact it had taken me over a year to even unwrap it, since he had never gotten a chance to open it.
Sad? you take this shit better than I do. I work 12-14 hours a day to have the things that I have, and some punks think that they somehow deserve it.
In some parts of Africa it is commonplace to cut off someones hand when they are caught stealing. As I looked at the shattered window of my truck, talking on my cell phone to the police officer that was too busy to come fill out a report (undoubtedly writing ridiculous parking tickets or sucking on a raspberry danish, I'm sure)...I felt unbelievably violated and wished for just a moment that our government would be overthrown by some small African uprising.
I hope the little fuckers get caught...hopefully with an assful of Rotweiller.
BTW...can I borrow Heathers? *grins*

Anonymous Cindy said...

Wait. You have the second season of Twin Peaks on DVD? seriously? that's impossible to get -- they only sell it in Europe for, like, $200. i've never seen the second season. i'll be in chicago for christmas -- i am so coming over to watch that. :)

oh, and sorry about the break-in, of course. that does seriously suck.

Anonymous Krae said...

Not so fast Cindy, I only have the first season of Twin Peaks. Maybe we can work something out with Buck.
Oh, really sorry about the break-in. You should really look into renters insurance, but wait until you get some good stuff.

Blogger Brian said...

A baseball with Mark Buerhle's signature? Shit! In the wake of this violation, let that be a reminder that you are still a lucky man. How'd you get his signature? Did you talk to him? I am so jealous right now.

Anonymous Drywall said...

Wow. That totally sucks, dude.

You know, my dad had always demanded that I get renters insurance and I always did, but I also always thought it was a waste of $150. I guess he was right...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Online, I'm so sorry. That is such a violation and one that I unfortunately am quite familiar with My house in DC was robbed and he even drank and stole our beer. Fortunately he was too small and too alone to take our TV. At any rate, I am so sorry about your home. I'm just so glad that everyone was out of the house. My roommate walked in on our robber and he fled on foot over a 6 footfence, dropping and breaking a lot of what he was stealing, which was even more irritating. You'll get through this and fortunately, some of your more prized possessions were spared.

Anonymous Glab said...

My heart and my mojo out to you.

Blogger Buck B. said...

The Buerhle ball is my roommate's. Unfortunately, he just won it at an auction and didn't actually get to meet Mark. He did get to serve Paul Konerko while he was bartending, though. Unless the robbers took it, somewhere in my apartment is a Bud Light bottle with Konerko's DNA on it.

My bad, my bad. It's just the first season of Twin Peaks. That's my roommate's, too; I've actually never watched it. Didn't realize the second season was some sort of DVD holy grail.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the place looks normal......

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