Experieced a Burglary 4/30/2013

SuperChuck

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Joined
May 14, 2011
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192
All,

We all hear the stories and picture in our minds how we'd each react in the situation, but in practice, there's no plan for the moment it unfolds unexpectedly, and hits like a freight train.

THE CRIME SCENE

On Tuesday, April 30, I headed straight home from work.. the last two Tuesdays, I had spent my evenings in Summerville at my girlfriend's.. this may or may not have been significant. But by driving directly home, I approached my home around 5:30 pm good daylight and the weather had cleared from a rainy morning. The last mile of my drive, I was relaxing from my day and really in autopilot home ready to crash and catch up whatever TIVO'd episodes I had accumulated. I did notice two things.. one of my (mile radius) neighbors was out cleaning/picking up things out by the road, and a small side road near my home (<1000 ft) to the national forest had a white car parked there that seemed a little bit ... out/odd... but not enough to warrant slowing down or double-checking.

As I turned into my driveway (>300 foot to the house) I was in no hurry as I surveyed the results of all the rain and how it impacted a plant bed we had put in a few weeks earlier. When I drove behind my house, I immediately noticed my back door (main entrance) cracked by about 5". There is no describing the immediate kick in the gut that hit me, before ever getting out the car. I can't even say I approached the door cautiously, since the adrenalin hit THAT fast, I walked up to my porch, and swung the door open to what would best be described as the aftermath of an interior tornado. Front door jamb splintered and pieces on the floor from being kicked in, living room 60" TV gone from the wall mount wrenched and bent, couches pulled from the wall cushions strewn around. Computer desk completely upended, all its contents scattered on the floor, except the missing 27" monitor.. China hutch opened and rummaged through... in the open living area, they even pulled the kitchen cabinet trim down as they jumped to see if anything was hidden above the cabinets.

Before going anywhere else in the house, I called the police, and then my family living nearby and continued to survey the damages.....

The master bedroom bedframe was upended, box spring and frame pulled out and mattress shifted over to the wall. Every single bureau drawer pulled out and dumped on the floor, chest of drawers rummaged through, walk-in closet storage boxes opened. The guest room was similar but worse, as it doubled as an outdoor room with ammo boxes and accessories stacked on my (WHEW) full and locked gunsafe....... Ammo was strewn EVERYWHERE, some high-end scopes were on the floor, dumped out of the drawers they were stored in. The floor was covered in clutter, anything small missing will take a while to determine. The 32" wall TV and Wii from this room were gone.

I have one bedroom converted into the "workroom" it has a workbench, tool chests, power tools and an upright double-door cabinet, as well as closet storage for a lot of my project odds and ends... this room had a variety of items inside it - including my AR build parts.... I hated to walk into that room, but when I did I was relieved to see that it had barely been touched... This was my first indication they may have been interrupted, along with the valuable items left on the floor in the guest room. First glance, nothing was missing, and the rest of the house seemed less affected than the other rooms.

Before my family or the Deputy arrived, I ran over to the neighbors (100+ yards) to check to see if they noticed anything - they had not earlier in the day, but they were inside part of the afternoon and out running errands during the afternoon/early evening. They had noticed a suspicious vehicle on Sunday, but nothing that day.


THE INVESTIGATION

My mom and dad arrived and I must admit that despite my father's aging eyes, years of hunting experience have given him powers of observation that I can only wish to even partially obtain. Before the Deputy arrived a few minutes later, we had found a dropped lighter, found 2 distinct sets of shoeprints, located the 60" TV stashed up under the porch (cache'd for later retrieval I assume) and found their exit route.. leading to where the strange white car had been parked earlier... The burglars were in my home, or actively carrying things to their car while I drove in to my driveway.

The car, as I described to the officer, at my best recollection/impression as I drove by at nearly 50 mph, was a white, 4-door, older model car that had a sloped/dropping front end.. my best-guess examples at the time was something similar to an old sentra/stanza or Ford contour/taurus clone...... This was just an initial impression, I was not certain. And I did seem to recall the trunk and/or a door may have been open at the time I passed.

After the initial period of meeting the officer and explaining the circumstances of my arrival, we began the room-by room initial assessment of the missing AND damaged property - as the violence of their search and removal litterally tore some items apart, and left them un-useable.

Living room/Den - Small laptop taken, 60" TV wrenched from the wall, it was found under my porch, damaged beyond repair, wall mount damaged beyond use, wall damaged from the effort. Personal desktop computer 27" monitor snatched away so hard the table upended, and the contents spilled on the floor, a nice pentax waterproof camera was also taken from the desk.

Dining room - Small laptop(#2) stored in cabinet was taken, car stereo stored in cabinet also taken.

Guest room - Wii Game console, 2 sets of controllers and 6 games taken. 32" television taken, mount broken, wall scratched up, Brand new in box television media player/streaming media player taken. Pentax LS-30 scope later recovered. Drawers beat up and cracked from being thrown and dumped.

Master Bedroom - Bureau drawer slides damaged as drawwers were ripped out. Initially worried that favorite .22 rifle may have been taken, but later verified it was safely stored in the safe.

By around 8:15 PM the Officer had managed to pull 2 prints from a lighter and the Wii base- it appears they may have used some of my hunting gloves to take down the TV as there were no good fresh prints present on the bezel... The officer also confirmed the entry route and escape route and trail the burglars took that my father had found. Following the route also yielded a few more odd and end items, that were pretty much worthless without the main item they belonged to.

Cleaning up was luckily assisted by my Girlfriend who left Summerville once I told her about the crime, and a friend and his wife that came to check on me after I called to tell my friend about the incident. I was still in a dazed mode, so the help and company was a welcome thing. Adrenaline was still coursing through my veins even after 4 hours, and I was wired, but still unable to think as clearly as possible.

So far, the missing or damaged items list is in the $7000+ range, and its obvious that it was an interrupted burglary. If I had repeated my previous schedule, and not returned home until late Tuesday, it would have easily exceeded twice that. In their haste, they prioritized the laptops, LCD tv's and monitors, and had not yet started on the more mundane items - scopes and ammunition in the guest room. They also had not started on my work room.. There are enough A/R parts in it to build 2-3 complete uppers, 2 bolt action rifle actions for custom builds, several A/R Lower parts kits, forearms ,stocks, and even more Ammo and Brass. IF they had a truck and access to a heavy duty dolly, the safe could have also been in jepoardy.........


THE LESSONS

These lessons have proven quite costly...

If it locks, LOCK IT - My safe was locked (thank goodness) my workroom cabinet that stores my A/R parts was not, in this case it did not matter, but if I had not interrupted them, it would have been cleaned out.

If it is valuable and has a special location, Always Keep it there - have some way to easily tell if something is missing.. If you build a habit of keeping it in one place, it is easier to tell if its missing. I had an initial concern my Pentax scope was missing, but it was actually found on the trail where they dropped it prior to verifying that certainly. I also had the 2 bolt action frames that took me several searches to finally put my hands on, simply because I had not established a "regular" storage spot. I've wasted more time and effort verifying the loss, due to overlooking that simple rule. A photo of those rooms, with things in there place would have been priceless for recreating the scene before the robbery.

If its valuable, have some proof of ownership - I tend to serch for deals online, Amazon and Newegg are my electronics and computer vendors of choice. I was able to dig up 80% of my original receipt invoices at these locations, to help establish my purchases/proof of ownership.

Trust the voice in the back of your head, if something seems/feels odd, its likely odd - if I had become more alert after initially seeing the car parked near my home, I may have focused better on the edges of the yard leading back to the car, and detected the movement of the escaping burglars. I may have had an opportunity to respond differently and had law enforcement arrive sooner.

Don't assume you might be robbed, assume you WILL be - I left a lot of items, valuable items out in the wide open, simply because I didn't "expect to be robbed TODAY" I went throught the motions, I bought a gunsafe, I had a lockable storage closet, I have installed stronger deadbolts and locksets, I know whats valuable, and how hard some things are to replace.. Instead of leaving a project on the workbench until my next opportunity to tinker, it should be locked back up until the next opportunity, instead of leaving newly bought items in the box, on the bench, it should be 1. Cataloged/Proof of purchase and 2. securely stored immediately. UPS packaging is at best something to generate curiousity and warrant inspection by the bad guy.

Make them work for it - Don't make it easy for them - I realized late that night that I may have had 3 pistols out of the safe due to a recent shooting session, I could not recall returning them to the safe after making it home. I checked the safe and they were missing - just my luck, I had taken them all in one large craftsman bag, and had basically left a "burglar care package carry-out bag" complete with some ammo and accessories... Fortunately, I looked in the closet next to the safe, which they had begun searching, and found the bag, AND 3 pistols in the bag, simply because they had not searched that far down yet. I WAS LUCKY. I can't trust luck next time, I will make it even more difficult before it ever happens again.
 

94formulabird

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Apr 13, 2012
Messages
156
Sucks for you man. My car was stolen last saturday night around 11pm...im just gettin to where I can actually get good sleep. Having your things messes with you mentally. I struck some luck as well since I had taken my pistol in for cleaning the day before but forgot to take it with me when I left for work that morning. Also my range bag and "get home bag" were both taken inside a few days before. Other than the car all the theif got was some car detailing stuff, a 90pc craftsman tool set, $300 calculus book, and a homemade pvc bow and aluminum arrows. I hope you have better luck with the cops than I did. I called 5 days after the initial report only to find they hadnt even assigned an investigator. I have ZERO tolerance for stealing. I would gladly cut off their hands and paste the video all over the internet. Good luck.
 

Tigerstripe

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Nov 7, 2011
Messages
2,304
sorry to hear that Chuck. i was burgled long ago. i was coming in the front door and she was going out the back window. i had my Colt Officers model but i just didnt put it together fast enough. if i had seen her in the apartment she would be dead.

about all she got was my range bag from when i was shooting IPSC. the ban was on so the 6 Para mags were worth over $700. my AR was standing behind the bedroom door. all i had was a safe big enough for my pistols. she put a screwdriver to the dial with no luck.

found out who it was, and since she was arrested for stealing a lic plate and possition of a handgun by a felon, the stupid prosecuter didnt prosecute her for burgulary cause no one saw her, she admitted it and promised to pay restitution rather than get the burgulery charge. all this was decided without my input.

i valued my bag and contents at $1600. damn prosecuter said it might have been $800, cause HE could buy hi cap mags cheap at police shooting supply. i told him to buy me 6 para mags, hard chrome 3 of them, 8 AR mags, a Pac Timer and on and on.

i was sick for a while but i know i was lucky. didnt lose any guns. whats bad is later i was told that not to be caught with my bag she threw it in a dumpster..... maybe.

now, years later my wife and i had thought about it and happened to get a call from an alarm co. my son works for one in NH. we got an alarm. its one more layer of protection.
 

LiveFreeorDie

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Apr 19, 2012
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Truly sorry for your troubles and loss of property. With your partial description of the car and the likelihood your items will soon show themselves in a local pawn shop, the 5-0, with a little luck and some basic detective work will have the thugs in jail soon enough. Doesn't change being robbed but bad guys are probably feeding some habit of theirs and they will get caught. Your lessons shared are all very good ones.
 

armaborealis

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Dec 27, 2011
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Sorry to hear about your loss. I'm glad to hear nothing irreplaceable seems to have been taken.
 

thebrasilian

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May 7, 2010
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Sorry about the violation of your space. But happy that you were not hurt by being there. Home invasions usually don't end well.
 

jmt2566

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Oct 15, 2009
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371
thebrasilian said:
Sorry about the violation of your space. But happy that you were not hurt by being there.
Also glad that you & the girlfriend were not hurt. I hope that the law catches up with the trash that did this to you.

Jeff
 

bigfutz

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Nov 5, 2011
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LiveFreeorDie said:
...with a little luck and some basic detective work will have the thugs in jail soon enough...
And then since our government doesn't have enough money for prisons, and because those poor criminals' civil rights can't be violated, they will be back at it again in no time.
 

LiveFreeorDie

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Apr 19, 2012
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I agree, bigfutz. Just trying to make him feel a little better but "justice" is really the wrong word anyway; There is no "righting" the wrong of violating someone's space, stealing their property, or maliciously injuring another human being. There is much wrong with the government and the criminal justice system but it's the best we've got, for now. When we go to cutting off the hands of theives and hanging rapists and murderers from the nearest tree, criminals might rethink their career choices. As it is, there's nothing to dissuade them from being predators. Anyone else see the recent university survey where 29 percent of the respondents believe an armed revolution will be necessary to restore the country to it's founding principles?
 

Tigerstripe

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Nov 7, 2011
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well guess what.

my son in NH called me about 730 to tell me he had just been burgularized.

i have no idea what computer stuff he had that was stolen except some was games. other than that and his rent money, they got the stainless 10/22 i gave him, with scope. he open carries his pistol so it was with him.

i plan to give him an AR but told him not until he gets a safe.

thieves everywhere. the same happened when he lived in Greenville before he moved, no guns just computer stuff .
 
Joined
May 22, 2011
Messages
945
Almost all burglaries occur when a door is kicked in. They usually give up and go elsewhere rather than go in through a window (unless they're specifically targeting that residence for a particular reason).

Fortify your doors and frames.
 
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