An event last Friday

We live on a corner, we use the back (kitchen) door a lot, and the kitchen is easily visible from the garden. Perhaps for this reason, we’ve been burgled several times, and the most recent occasion was last Friday.

The drill goes as follows:

  1. 11 pm deciding to go to bed, and wondering where my handbag is to switch off my mobile;
  2. Searching for bag, at first amused, then frustrated, then concerned;
  3. Realising that there must have been a pause during afternoon/evening when the door was left unlocked, and someone was able to nip in and steal it, a work of 30 seconds. Trying to decide when that period might have been;
  4. Phoning bank to cancel bank card. Cannot order new one this late at night;
  5. Moving car to a secret location;
  6. Next morning, phoning police and bank again. Nice officer calls round, and gives us a crime number. He explains that this happened last night to several of our neighbours as well. Groups of youngsters choose an area for the night, and go round checking door-handles to steal bags or whatever light easy stuff they can find. They are not likely to be armed, and if discovered will probably run. They may be seeking money for drugs, or may just be the lowest staff of a criminal business, hoping in due course to be promoted to a better role, such as drug-dealer;
  7. Bag found dumped in garden. Nothing was stolen except a small amount of cash, the car key and the bank card. I’m pleased to have my Robin Hood bus/tram card intact (also mobile and diary) but a little sorry not to have an excuse for replacing the bag;
  8. Arranging free weekday parking until the car locks can be changed. Fortunately neither of us drives to work;
  9. Visiting bank on Monday;
  10. Lots of sympathy on Facebook gratefully received.

This is I think the third time this has happened to us. The moral is ALWAYS keep back door locked, and do not leave tablet or bag in unoccupied kitchen.

Three thoughts “moving forward”:

  1. A useful tip from the nice policeman is that a robbery of this kind, before bedtime and of an occupied house, should be reported to the insurance company as “walk-in” and not “insecure premises”. You are entitled, even if foolish, not to lock your house when you’re in it during the day – we haven’t done anything wrong;
  2. It also occurs to me, more frivolously, that it is incorrect to say that my bag was stolen. When studying criminal law in Scotland in the 1980s, we were told about the legal ramifications of the invention of the motor-car. The definition of “theft” in Scots law is/was taking something “with the intention permanently to deprive the owner”. Lads who picked up unlocked cars and drove around in them for a bit, joyriders, had no such intention, as they then abandoned the cars. So a new crime was formulated: clandestine taking and using. My handbag was clandestinely taken and used. The thieves didn’t want it; they only used it to get at the items inside.
  3. The sympathy was nice, but really it’s only a nuisance. None of the family found the incident seriously distressing or frightening. As for the thieves, I disapprove of them and hope they’re caught, partly for their own sakes. But I’m struggling to forgive them, because I don’t feel enough personal pain or fury towards them, any more than I need to forgive the table I bump my leg against. I feel more animosity towards people who phone up with surveys, but that’s another problem.

Love from the PPI Blogger

  • Stephen Sheridan

    18th May 2018 at 3:46 pm Reply

    Another thing to take from this irritating event for you is how common simple acts of theft were in both the ancient and medieval worlds. You can see so many of the religious votive offering “prayers” at key Roman sites like Bath were curses on unidentified thieves, such as “may the person who stole my cloak suffer endless torment”. It’s interesting that Christianity moves religion away from the vengeance area and into the hope for a change in character for the perpetrator and forgiveness. I’ve always found the worst thing about theft or suffering physical violence is the strange sense of defilement one can feel.

    • Penelope Wallace

      20th May 2018 at 4:30 pm Reply

      Good point! Maybe I should include a pickpocket in the next book…

  • Judith Leader

    18th May 2018 at 7:13 pm Reply

    Having been robbed when I was in and the house door was not locked I always lock the house/flat. Now I have a Yale lock so it is easy. Just recently my garage was broken into, it was locked but they managed to get it off the runners. I reported it at the police station as I know they want to know about local crime however as they had found nothing worth taking, not even my Christmas tree decorations or camping chair, the person on the desk was not going to register it. In the end the other person at the desk said it should be reported and it turned out the policeman had never done one before, so she showed him. I subsequently got a letter thanking me as there had been a lot of robberies in the area etc.
    Having your garage broken into is annoying and even had I still had the car (sadly gone since I was told not to drive in September), they would have had difficulty getting it out, I think they were after something quick they could sell, it is nothing like having your house broken invaded and bag stolen.
    So my sympathies and perhaps we could do a whip round for a handbag as a consolation prize providing it is not one of those overpriced ones.

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