Yesterday some people walked into my house while I was out and took stuff. The police think there were more than one and they were on foot. I was hiking along the Potomac when the thefts occurred and when I got home, I didn’t notice anything wrong. Then I walked into my bedroom and realized several drawers in a dresser had been pulled open.
I’m getting older. Forgetfulness is a minor issue—car keys, errands to run; what did I come into this room to get? Had I opened the drawers? No. I hadn’t.
I went to the kitchen. The new laptop computer bought four months ago was gone, along with its case, a mouse, and various accessories. I returned to the bedroom. Whoever it was had stolen my iPad and my late father’s watch. They had pawed through a jewelry box containing nothing of value, then gone to the hallway and stolen a favorite blue backpack with no zippers but many leather straps and two knapsacks, as well as some prehistoric shark’s teeth I‘d dug up years ago in Florida. Nothing was missing in my home office, but two small statuettes, a Buddha and a (fake) Aztec god. The thieves went through the drawers of my desk and left behind a video camera and five sheets of commemorative Elvis postal stamps. They took some knives I’d bought in Nepal.
According to the policeman who came and dusted for fingerprints, the miscreants were probably kids. He also said they might be heroin addicts, as opiates are running rampant in McLean. I know this. About five years ago, the family that lived across the street from me moved out after the eldest son died from a heroin overdose.
I’m feeling all the normal emotions—anger, sadness, a sense of violation, a desire for revenge I am unlikely an opportunity to exact. I have been told I was lucky not to be at home when the thefts occurred. I completely disagree. I would have been elated to catch the thieves in the act.
My insurance deductible is too high to cover replacing the computer and iPad, so I’m out of luck.
I am grateful, in a sense, for the thieves’ stupidity. Since they had no car and were in a hurry, they didn’t take valuable stuff that might have been too conspicuous or cumbersome. They left a change jar with about a hundred in it, and a small metal wallet full of twenties.
The thefts made me realize something odd: I can’t say I am sure of exactly what I own. I sense things are missing only because the place where some items were are empty now. I’m sure I’ll find more stuff missing in time.
It’s odd, living in one of the most affluent areas in the country and being ripped off.
If I see a kid with an old watch and a blue backpack with no zippers but many leather straps, he and I are going to have a serious talk.