The burglars took nothing and everything
Washington Post editor Michael Bolden's home was burglarized earlier this month. Here is his story:
The company that monitors my house alarm called shortly before 5 p.m. on a recent Wednesday.
I didn't think much of it at the time: Something had tripped a sensor at my home in the suburbs, and the alarm company was dispatching the police. I wondered if my partner had left a door ajar, but I was convinced there was an explanation that would make this nothing more than a passing irritant.
The follow-up call 10 minutes later changed all that. Prince George’s police were on the scene; one door had been forced open and a pane broken in another.
The trip home went by in a blur, as I cursed myself for having taken the Metro to work that day, for living somewhere it took 40 minutes to get to. I wondered about our dog, our cats, and what I would find.
When I pulled up, the night was pulsing with the lights from so many police cars that I lost count. Drivers were having trouble getting by on our narrow lane. There were police cars parked on the street, a car blocking the drive and several in the turnaround near the house.
They caught ‘em, I thought. They caught someone and killed him in the house!
What else could explain the heavy police presence? Plus, they wouldn’t let me in since my partner had already arrived home.
After 15 minutes or so, the officer in the drive gave the all clear, and the police started to pull away. It turned out that when the first unit had responded to the alarm at dusk, lights began popping on as timers began to give the house a lived-in look, and he called for backup.
I had been resassured by the presence of so many police, but once they were gone, the reality hit. We had two doors that needed immediate repairs, one of our cats was missing, and the dog was 90 pounds of agitated black fur — plus, we discovered the burglars had made a weak attempt to poison him.
I’ve given people sympathetic nods when it’s happened to them. I’ve muttered platitudes about how sorry I was, but I never understood what a burglary does to you.
We had done everything right, I thought. We had an alarm installed in our house. There were warnings posted all around. A car was parked in the drive. We had timers set to go on and off. And yet, it wasn’t enough.
Someone chose to disregard all of the signs, thinking there might be something inside worth taking a risk.
Whether they were kids looking for an easy opportunity, or drug-addled perps searching for a way to buy their next fix, we’ll probably never know. Whoever they were, they caused chaos in our lives. They left us and the animals jittery. We’re left trying to make modern repairs in an old house where nothing is a standard size.
In the end, they took nothing — except our sense of security.
-- Michael Bolden
Washington Post editors
December 14, 2009; 12:08 PM ET
Categories: Personal Safety , Pr. George's
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