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Break-In

Well, February wasn't done with the bad things for me.

I got home around 10 after midnight, after being out all day at work and then at my friends' house for dinner and a movie (Spinal Tap, which I'd never seen before (like oh so many other films)).

The first thing I noticed was that the back door to the apartment building wasn't actually shut, like it's supposed to be. That made me pause a moment. Just inside the back door is the door to the cellar, and for some reason I checked that door and discovered the knob was locked, which is also odd -- it's always deadbolted but the knob lock is never locked. But it looked like the landlord had been around the building cleaning up things earlier, so I think that's what's up with that.

I should explain that I'm in the front upstairs apartment of the building (it's a large old house with 4 apartments). Also, about a month ago someone jimmied the window of the back downstairs apartment and stole a bunch of CDs and some cash, but left other obviously valuable things (like a guitar) behind.

So I was a little concerned, as I said, about the back door being ajar. The upstairs hallway was dark, because we (foolishly) don't leave the light on all the time, but there was enough light from downstairs that I could see the hallway was empty. I got upstairs, turned on the light, and did not see anything wrong. Then I put my key in the deadbolt lock and turned it.

Two things were immediately obvious. One, turning the key did not actually move the deadbolt. Two, that did not matter, because the door was open. In fact, it had been forced open.

The "upside" to this is that the thief didn't take much. He stole a piece of wheeled luggage out of my closet. He stole my checkbook. He stole all (9) of my DVDs. He stole the change out of my jar of change on a shelf. He stole about 50 or so of my CDs, apparently grabbing a few random handfulls off the shelves.

Now here's what seems strange and stupid to me. He *had my luggage*. Obviously he could put a number of things in there. I have around 300 CDs, why not take more? Actually, why take CDs at all? He's not going to get much money for them.

He took time to open a file drawer, look in at least one dresser drawer, look in the closet. Why not grab the DVD player? That would fetch more money than the CDs, it'd only take a few seconds to unhook the cables, it'd fit in the luggage. Or the VCR, for that matter.

He grabbed my checkbook, which is in a little letter holder behind my calculator, but left the box of blank checks right next to it on the shelf. Duh. Why take the time to *empty* the jar of change -- it's just a tomato sauce jar, and was only half full -- instead of taking the jar and tossing it in the luggage?

So, I'm fortunate, I could have lost a lot more. I'm more pissed off than upset. But now, I don't know. This guy's hit the building twice now, and he knows what I've got in my place. What if he comes back? Can the landlord really make the building and apartment more secure?

This sucks. I hope March turns out better.

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Comments

( 1 wrote — Write )
the_seraph
Mar. 2nd, 2003 06:37 am (UTC)
that royally sucks.

As for dealing with your landlord, check out the renters rights in your state - different states have varying degrees of laws pertaining to rental property. Some places now require a landlord to maintain rental insurance to at least partly pay for things that are stolen (i think only maybe a handful of states do this), but most will require that a landlord maintains his property "in a manner conducive to safe and healty dwelling" or some such legalese. Such jargon is open to interpretation, but can often be used to at least persuade a landlord to invest in buying new locks, installing security lights, etc. Things that probably wont keep away a determined thief, but might keep out someone passing by. Too, a returning thief will notice that there have been some improvements and might think twice about it.

*shrugs* Again, depends on the laws in your state/city. Best of luck
( 1 wrote — Write )

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