Burglary

A house I have been asked to check in on over the holiday season was burgled last night along with two neighbouring houses. I’ve been on the phone to the police and the window repairman, and then I’ve been showing them around. My acquaintances had a burglary alarm system with motion detectors — on the first and second floors. The burglars somehow scaled the wall to the third floor, broke open the window to a bedroom and went in. There they rifled through all cupboards, wardrobes and drawers, left a laptop computer and a TV untouched, opened a second window and nimbly jumped out. Looks like they spent maybe a quarter of an hour inside.

The police took this thing surprisingly seriously, cordoning off two rooms and calling in forensics. Apparently they have special funding to pursue home burglers. Anyway, I’m glad it wasn’t in my area.

I wonder what makes a person a professional burglar. So do the criminologists, I guess.

Comments

  1. #1 Hans Persson
    December 30, 2008

    Seems like picky thieves, if they didn’t take a laptop. Strictly cash & jewelry?

  2. #2 Woody Tanaka
    December 30, 2008

    “Seems like picky thieves, if they didn’t take a laptop.”

    Most burglars probably do not have the knowledge to completely wipe identifying data from a computer. I wouldn’t be surprised if there have been arrests and convictions based on the fact that data that was believed to have been “erased” was recovered and used. This is speculation on my part, but perhaps it has become more dangerous to try to sell/pawn/fence a used laptop because of this issue, so they aren’t worth stealing as much anymore for some burglars.

  3. #3 who cares
    December 30, 2008

    What I wonder is how did the thief know that only the ground and first floors had a burglar alarm.

  4. #4 Mikael HafO
    December 30, 2008

    Every time I hear of a burglary like this one, I get this strange mixed feeling of anger over the violation of the home owners’ privacy, sadness for that same reason, and admiration for the thief who managed such a spectacular stunt.

    A short example. Some ten years ago or so, a friend of mine who studied at the chemistry department was having a “fika” (coffee break), when she saw a crane truck pulling up in front of the main entrance of the department. Three guys in working clothes and orange vests jumped out and started to poke around in the flower beds by the front walls, seemingly doing some gardening work. Suddenly, one of them took a chain, pulled it through the front wheels of the bicycles in front of the department building, and through the arches of the bicycle stand they stood in, and then lifted everything up with the crane. After that they just drove away. My flabbergasted friend said that it took no more than 30 seconds or so. She also had some trouble describing the process for the police, as they at first didn’t believe the somewhat elaborate scheme she described.

  5. #5 ArchAsa
    December 30, 2008

    Bad end to the year for your friend – it is never quite the same after a burglary even if nothing really bad happened. My mother had a break in a few months ago in her apartment building. Codes and a heavy duty security door helped not at all. They did take the laptop with their non-safety-copied digital photos (a lesson well learnt), but mostly they went for the GOLD. Took her very modest, but emotionally precious heirlooms, the bastard-covered bastards with bastard filling.

    My guess is they were looking for gold at your friend’s house, and they certainly seem professional so it’s nice to see the police are actually spending some time on this.

  6. #6 DianaGainer
    December 30, 2008

    Condolances on the break-in for your friend. Some people have a hard time recovering from that sort of thing. I hope your friend isn’t one of them. My mother-in-law keeps talking about wanting to sleep with a gun under her pillow since her house was broken into long ago and she is now a widow. Her daughter very sensibly wouldn’t allow Mom to keep deceased Father’s gun, as Mom startles easily and would no doubt shoot one of the family before finding out who was at the door one of these days. But one evening when Mom was staying at our house, seemingly working a jigsaw puzzle quite peacefully, suddenly put down the puzzle piece in her hand and announced furiously, “I wants my damn gun!” It cracked up hubby and me, which didn’t do anything to improve Mom’s disposition. May 2009 treat your friend better than 2008 did.

  7. #7 Martin R
    December 31, 2008

    I wonder if maybe the alarm firms make a habit of not wiring the third floor, and if that habit is known to professional burglars.

  8. #8 Mikael HafO
    December 31, 2008

    That, Martin, would be a plausible explanation. Seems strange, though, since the third floor is accessible via a ladder and also often holds a balcony with one of those lousy locks on the door.

  9. #9 Erwin Blonk
    January 1, 2009

    Martin, Mikael

    That’s how it often works. Sloppiness, oversights and burglars count on that.

    About obvious items that are overlooked, like the laptop, think yourself as a burglar in a house you don’t know, you are not sure if and when people might come to check the house and you don’t have a list of items and locations: you look around quickly, grab what you can carry and leave. Even if you see a laptop you might decide it’s time to leave.

  10. #10 kai
    January 1, 2009

    One wonders sometimes. We had a burglary at the office, where among other things my laptop was stolen. The thief(s) had taken the extra few seconds to neatly unplug the circus of external devices attached to it at the time, apparently deciding that big monitors, hard disks etc were not worth carrying away.

  11. #11 Dunc
    January 6, 2009

    Unless a laptop is brand new, its resale value simply doesn’t make it worth carrying. They’re practically giving the things away in boxes of breakfast cereal these days.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.