My house was burgled last night.

You see it happen all the time, but never expect it to happen to you. Indeed, this year there had been a high amount of thefts both on campus and off. The thieves run in, grab whatever they could in the small amount of time, and dashed out. It was disturbing, of course, but my housemates and I thought we were safe. Kalamazoo is a shit city, but the neighborhood we lived in was different, right? We don’t throw huge parties. We don’t have any enemies (that we know of). We live in a very small house on an out-of-the-way street. There was a mixture of college houses and family houses on this street and for the most part was really nice and quiet. The other places that were burgled were much different than ours: Large houses, lots of people, doors unlocked. We were extremely anal about locking our doors and windows all the time. Our landlady lives next door for crying out loud!

All it took was one unlocked window in our kitchen…

It is very rare that all four roommates are gone from the house at once. My college is very fast-paced and we have homework all the time, especially as seniors. It was one of the few Saturday nights were we all just took a break to relax and have some fun, and this is what happens. Roommate 1 even had a barbeque with friends out back!
They must have been watching us for quite a while. It’s the only reason to explain why they struck despite the fact that there were so many people over and that we left the lights on before leaving. They must have figured out when everyone had left the house and siezed the opportunity. Roommate 1 ended the party and went to go study on campus at around 10:30 p.m. Roommates 2, 3, and I were out catching a movie (Iron Man is really good, by the way) and went over to some friends’ place to play games.

The three of us came home at a little past midnight. We went into the kitchen to see that one of the windows had been opened. “Weird” we thought, “Roommate 1 is usually anal about this yet left the back door unlocked and the window wide open and the back door unlocked, how unlike her…” We discovered the other part of the window outside. Roommate 2 and I put it together and thought nothing of it- perhaps Roommate 1 was just a bit tipsy.
Roommate 3 gets really worried and starts checking everything. “Guys, where’s my DVD player?” All three of us run to our respective rooms. Stuff is missing. We call Roommate 4 back to campus and call the police.

They did what they could, we gave our statements, but let’s face it- our stuff is as good as gone. Luckily they did not go for everything, just quick electronics. They must have been watching us from the cemetary behind our house (the house is 20 feet below it on a steep but climbable hill), saw the chance, and went around trying the windows on the side of the house opposite to our landlady’s. They popped it open, somehow climbed over the washer and dryer set that are in front of the window which is quite a feat. Opened the back door, took our stuff and dashed.
I’m afraid that I left that window unlocked from a few weeks ago when I was airing out the room after burning some squash. They tell me that it’s not my fault, but I still feel so terrible. :frowning:

3 laptops
1 iPod
2 Nintendo DS Lites
4 Nintendo DS games
1 DVD player
1 Nintendo Gamecube

Of those, a laptop, a DS and the iPod was mine. I never realized how much I used that laptop. All of my papers I wrote in the last 2 years- gone. All of my photos from Kyoto- gone. I worked really hard for the DS in Japan, it was the first electronic I actually bought myself and one of the few frivilous items I allowed myself to buy. The iPod was new and had been a Christmas gift, that one is going to get a good price on the market.
I cried a lot last night. I feel like crying now. Luckily they didn’t take anything more like our passports or my electronic dictionary or television or PC. They’re just material items, I’m trying to let go. It’s hard when it feels like a setback; I’ll be coming out of here $40k in debt so there’s no way I’ll be able to replace the lost items anytime soon. I still feel terrible. I feel terrible that I was probably the one that left that window open and I feel terrible that our privacy and trust has been violated. Will they see the stickers on my items and wonder what kind of girl really loves plum blossoms and butterflies? Will they look at my Japanese papers and thesis and think about how long it must have taken to write those? Will they see my Kyoto pictures and wonder what kind of person lived there for a year? It feels creepy to think about that. I don’t want them to see it; I hope they delete everything. I hope my laptop won’t get a sold because of the broken battery. I’m glad that no one was home when it happened, but at the same time…

This was literally one of the few times out of the schoolyear where all four of us were gone from the house. We were busy trying to enjoy ourselves in the little free time we had before graduation. It was all good as gold until now. I had so much fun last night, more than I’ve had in a long time, and then we come home to this. I tried to hold this place in a good light. I tried defending it to my friends who see it as their personal hell. I tried smiling to strangers and saying hello to people on the street despite my own akwardness. Will I keep trying? I don’t know. It feels like it’s going to be so much harder after this. All I know is that I feel really sad and grey.
Much like Kalamazoo’s weather.
Much like Kalamazoo.

That really really sucks. I’d be lost without my laptop. I hope they find the bastard(s) who stole your stuff.

I honestly feel for you,the financial loss is bad enough but many people dont understand the trauma of the actual event itself.

People have been in your house and been through your stuff,its a very dirty feeling I know as some friends of mine were burgled a couple of years ago.

You cant see me or hear me but in a different part of the world from you I’m wishing you good things as hard as I can and I’ve no doubt many more Dopers are.

You’re going through a very tough period emotionally at the moment but steel yourself to keep going and you’ll move on in the future .
Trust me on this.

Wishing you good fortune from now on.

Thanks for the well wishes.

Lust, it is really hard. The material items could be replaced and we’re all in that feeling of “It could have been worse, but why did it happen at all?” It’s mostly the invasion of privacy that frustrates me most and I feel like I’ve lost a part of my happy innocence but perhaps it was more naivity, so maybe that’s a good thing to lose.

I’ve been there before and, fortunately, lost very little both times. As you’ve noted, the real damage was the invasion of privacy. Very icky. Sorry you had to go through this.


What a shame! Any chance that you or your friends are still covered under a parent’s insurance?

My friends were luckily able to get their laptops back, theirs is under insurance. Mine however, is long gone. :smack:

Should’ve password protected the thing, should have done something, anything to make it less easy. :smack: :smack: :smack:

All I can do is chalk it up to a very expensive lesson learned…

As for “how they knew the precise time you all would be gone…” Our neighborhood was subjected to a string of burglaries some time ago. Guy taking TV sets, VCRs, etc. He eventually turned out to be this guy living in his parents’ basement the next street over. He didn’t need to “case the joint”–he knew us.

The parents’ basement, when the cops caught up to him, was reportedly crammed full of his stolen loot. He apparently didn’t even have the smarts to fence the stuff properly.

So anyway, my point is, it’s possible you were hit by someone who lives nearby, someone who knows all your habits, not by some random drive-by who happened to notice an unlocked window and got lucky. It’s possible you were predated upon by someone who was just waiting for an opportunity, and that it wouldn’t have mattered whether you left a window open or not; sooner or later, he would have targeted you, it was just a matter of “when”.

So, anyway, all in all, don’t torture yourself unduly with guilt about having left the window unlocked. Shit happens. You can take reasonable precautions against being eaten by a hyena when you go to fetch water, but you can’t keep your eye on every bush, and sometimes there are sharp teeth behind the one bush you weren’t watching.

And…it could have been much, much worse. You’re just coping with the aftermath of a burglary, not a serial rapist (or worse). :wink:

And take MY word for it, that no matter how shitty you feel now, DDG is right. I’d much rather have lost some stuff.

If it makes you feel better, while attending WMU I knew at least three people who lived around Forbes St (which I assume is near you) that experienced the same thing. You aren’t alone in being jipped by that neighborhood.

I’m sorry you had to go through that :frowning:

My house (parents house) was robbed when I was 18, and while we did not suffer any financial hardships from the burglary, seeing our house all rummaged through and knowing the few things of sentimental value we had were gone took a huge emotional toll on me for a long while. Since I was a “kid” and it was my Home, the psychological toll was pretty bad too.

I hope something happens for you to get resolve. Good luck!

Oh no nikoniko that really sucks :frowning: The emotional blow combined with the financial loss makes for a real shitty feeling. Don’t blame yourself! You weren’t responsible for the theft. If instead of being robbed, a troop of babboons had come in and flung their feces everywhere, you wouldn’t feel responsible for that right? OK, maybe you would, but you shouldn’t. Don’t listen to me I’m just trying to make you smile like you always do so well.

nikonikosuru, I’m so sorry. Been there, so I know too. :frowning:
You’ll feel bad and nervous for a good long while. My mantra, such as it is, is “It coulda been worse.” Lame.
Hope you guys recover from your loss soon.

Been there too. Really sucks. Even though it was more than 25 years ago, it still chaps my ass if I think about it too much. Bastards even took all my newly-cleaned laundry. Couldn’t they have stolen it all one night earlier before I’d spent an entire day at the laundramat?

Feel better soon - remember that all that technology will be obsolete soon anyway.

Sorry to hear about this, especially the loss of all your papers. I had a buddy who had his backpack stolen from his car parked on campus. The part that was so ridiculous was that there was nothing in there that was of as much value to anybody else as it was to him, only textbooks and hours and hours of schoolwork.

Sorry t hear about it as well. Chalk me up for one of those “it could have been a lot worse”, but that doesn’t really help right now.

Arghghhh. Forbes is the street connected to the end of mine. If you take a look on a map you’ll see that both are connected to the cemetary; I think that somebody had been watching us from the cemetary. I thought we’d be safe since our street is more like an alley than a main street, the landlady lives next door, and there’s fence all around…Except for the back which leads into the cemetary.

My mantra definitely is “Could have been worse”. They took all of the portable electronics but left things like the television, stereo, my PC, and our Japanese electronic dictionaries. Luckily passports were not taken and I had my wallet, my ring, and other iPod on me at the time.
For 75% of the time I am in the very zen state of “No use crying over spilt milk” which I’ve had much practice with this quarter when three of my bowls were broken, heh. But the other 25% of the time like the moments where I think “I’m just going to surf the net on my lap-oh…”, I feel terrible. I just don’t have the money to replace those things right now, and money that will go to that could have been spent on other things that I could really use. More than anything it’s definitely the emotional, physcological thing of just the fact that we were watched, targeted, and easily taken from. It’s a very sobering experience.

As a result of my childhood, I’m a really skittish and jumpy person. I had relaxed during my college years but after this, I’m beginning to jump at every little sound again.

Thanks Auto, that made me smile a little. Lucky for me the theives were nice enough to shove out all of my Japanese folders, books, and magazines from my spare backpack before taking it so at least I still have those things!

Just…this, and seven hours later attempting to have (and failed) a decent conversation with my crazy mother on Mother’s Day…it’s been the worst weekend in a long time.

I know how you feel. I felt like someone was in the house for weeks after the two burglaries we had. Creeped me out. I wouldn’t stay alone for a while. Not even for a couple hours. Too creepy.

I know financially things might be a little tough, but if you think you can swing it, you might want to consider getting a very basic home insurance policy; my first one was something like 13$/month for 20 000$ of coverage, including fire and theft IIRC. We pay more now, but we are in a different living situation. Call around to different companies and see what kind of prices you can get - it might be possible to split it with roommates. These thieves have seen the stuff you own, and some are crazy enough to return to a home they’ve robbed if there’s more stuff of interest.

Not very comforting, but it might still be something you can DO to prevent further invasion, and it might make you feel safer. You’d also get “your” stuff back, replaced by insurance. It sounds like you had good habits to begin with, and just had one unlucky situation.

I feel for you. Last year at this time, some jerk broke into my van right after a craft show and stole all my handmade jewelry. I cried for two days – I know it’s just stuff, but there were a heck of a lot of hours put into that, and you can’t replace that. I wish you could get back the irreplaceables – pictures, personal work, because that is what you really miss. My mom mentioned something about the burglary this weekend and I still felt a rush of extreme anger at the bozos. If I could find them, I’d strangle them. :frowning: