Once you’ve been broken into once, it’s really hard to get that feeling of security back.
All day at work you get distracted, worrying if you’re going to come home to more crow barred open windows. More drawers scattered across the room. Anything small and expensive looking stolen.
Not even a full month after the first break-in, my reoccurring nightmare became reality.
I was at work, only 45 minutes until knock-off time. My mobile started ringing and I picked it up to see my boyfriend was calling. My first thought was “oh no, has someone died?!” – my boyfriend almost never calls me.
“Hey uh, –other flatmate– just called me. We’ve been broken into again.” You could hear the defeat in his voice.
I remember feeling hyper calm. You know that kind of calm where you’re barely keeping it together and you voice is shaking as bad as your hands but you’re telling yourself “this is fine, I’ve done this before, it’s just the same old routine“.
Picking up my things and shutting down my computer, I remember walking over to my bosses desk, and let him know that we’d been broken into again. He’s not the kind of guy that’s easily shocked, but even his eyebrows shot up. “Again? Already?”
One good thing at the time..
.. was that my boyfriend and I would commute to work together. It meant I didn’t have to endure the drive home by myself. Picking him up and having him with me was the only thing that held me together on the car ride home. My hysterical calm continued. “Good thing we’ve got insurance eh? Hope I don’t have to wait another month for another new laptop.”
He told me to wait until we got home before worrying about stuff like that.
Pulling into the garage, I immediately noticed the back door in the garage wide open. Escape path confirmed.
Again, we went upstairs, bracing ourselves for the worst. The room wasn’t torn apart this time. But they had gone for exactly the same things in exactly the same places. They knew the specific place to look for my boyfriends tablet (he keeps it out of sight) and they took my laptop again.
By this stage, we had another flatmate living with us – the one who got home first. That room was empty during the first burglary. His room was the most searched this time. They took a lot of his electronics and made a lot of mess. They barely touched the first flatmates room, except for going for the drawers where they found cash and laptops previously.
He had already contacted the cops, so I called the insurance company.
The call started off normally enough. Collecting my details, what had happened (at that point we weren’t sure how they got in – the only point of entry that had been forced was too small for any one to get through) and all that. I was trying to remain calm. I didn’t want to have to wait another month for a laptop replacement. One month was already torture.
After a bit of a pause while she read the notes on the last burglary, the CSR said quite rudely, “Just so you know, if we approve your claim, don’t expect the same level of payout this time. We were supposed to pay out cash value last time. Not replacement items. Obviously we can’t recover this from you now, especially as you’ve said some of these items have been stolen today.”
Hold the phone.
The fuck? In what world is that remotely to be considered customer service?! Here I am, on the edge of bursting into tears, voice shaking, going through absolute hell – and you bust this out on me?
I was blown away.
If you’ve read my previous post, you’ll know that I was already told by someone at the same company the complete opposite of this with the last claim. To have it thrown in my face as if I’d done something wrong or tried to cheat the system somehow was disgusting.
Because we couldn’t determine the point of entry this time, she said we’d have to wait for an insurance inspector to come out. “He’ll give you a call at some point.”
I threw my phone down in disgust.
That was my breaking point. I burst into tears. “It’s not fair. Why are we going through this again? Why are we being targeted?”
I barely slept that night.
I was convinced that the insurance company wouldn’t pay out, and I knew I couldn’t afford a new laptop. Not for a very long time at least.
My flatmate didn’t sleep either. Convinced the thieves were going to come back in the night to murder us all, he dragged around his bedroom furniture all night to blockade his door, so even when I attempted to go to sleep, I found it near impossible from all the thumping and banging going on in the room next to mine.
I must have dozed off in the early hours though. Sometime around 8am my boyfriend came in to say the cops were here to dust for prints, so I had to force myself to get up. Wearily I dragged myself downstairs.
The cop that came around was so lovely and thorough and very sympathetic. Even she was baffled about the point of entry. Apart from one window being tampered with, she couldn’t tell how they got it.
We were in the middle of talking when my boyfriend got a call.
“It’s the police. They think they’ve found our stuff.”
The cop asked to speak to me specifically. They had some suspects in custody and had confiscated what they believed to be stolen goods. They had found items matching our first burglary and when they turned the laptop on, lo and behold it said “Hello, Katie Hall”.
That feeling of joy, that weight lifting was incredible. Even the cop that was with us finishing off dusting for prints was surprised. It was so rare for items like this to turn up again.
We went down to the Police station in Henderson to identify our things. When we got there we found out that they were matching the stolen goods to our last burglary, as we hadn’t reported our stuff missing to them yet (only our flatmate had). They were shocked when we told them these items were stolen yesterday.
As we walked in to the area to ID our items, I spotted my boyfriends backpack on the floor. We hadn’t realised that was missing yet and the cop was only too happy to add it to the pile of evidence.
After giving our own fingerprints (so they knew what to ignore when dusting for prints on our stolen items), we were told they had to hold on to our stuff for a little while as evidence and we could have it back in a few days.
A few days stretched into a few weeks.
Finally, we got the call that we could pick up our items. We were met by a different officer, who had taken over the case and explained what had actually happened.
The day they called us in they pulled over a stolen car filled with people. One of them was the guy who went on to confess to breaking in to our house and stealing the items.
We know his name and know that he was old enough to be sent to adult court and be charged as an adult (thank goodness). Despite the indications that suggested otherwise, he didn’t own up to robbing the house the first time, but did confess to a number of other crimes. The cop believes he heard about our house from a friend though.
He also admitted to how he got in. We had left a second story window open that day – which is in full view of all our neighbours. There is a tree somewhat close to it, but still far enough away that we never thought it would be a risk. Turns out when you’re a determined piece of shit who doesn’t mind if people in 6 or 7 houses around you could spot you at any time, it’s close enough.
We got our stuff back, and despite promises to follow up with us and send us Victim Impact forms to fill out, we’ve never heard anything more.
I wish that was the end of it..
.. but it wasn’t. My laptop woes were far from being over. After we had gotten home that evening, I pulled out my laptop and turned it on. Managed to mess around on it for 2 glorious hours. Then suddenly, it turned off. The screen went black and it wouldn’t even acknowledge the power source. It was dead.
We took it back in to Noel Leeming for repair under warranty and they sent it off. After over a month of hearing that parts were on their way, then parts were wrong or faulty and they needed to send off for more, I finally got a call from the service center saying “We know you want your laptop back, so we’re going to send it to you. We have to leave the case open because we’re still waiting on parts which won’t be here for another moth, but at least you can have the laptop in the meantime.”
First of all.. another month to wait?! And secondly, you’re going to send me a completely non functioning laptop with half the parts missing? Except for the week between getting my new laptop and having it stolen again, I had been without a laptop since the 11th of January. It was now late April.
Luckily, the girl who served me at Noel Leeming was super understanding. She told me those laptops aren’t made anymore and that’s why parts are hard to get, so would I accept a brand new alternative laptop instead?
Yes. Yes I would.
Picking it up that day, I took it home. I still couldn’t shake that temporary feeling, but I forced myself through it.
It’s been over four months since the last break in
I still have days where I get distracted at work, convincing myself someone is breaking in to my house, stealing all my things.
Every day when I get home, I quickly scan for the tell-tale signs.
I hate being at home alone during the week day too. What if they try and break in, realised I’m home and try to hurt me?
I want to forget, I want to be able to live my life without paranoia. Maybe with time it will fade, but for now, I have to live with these feelings, live with trying to calm myself down from a full blown anxiety attack because I’m sure today will be the day that someone breaks in again.
All because some little shits don’t give a fuck about being decent human beings. They have no respect for others and only care about themselves and how to get what they want. I would love to name and shame the low life scum who has ruined a part of my life so completely but I’m sure there’s legal repercussions in that.
Instead I have to live with the fact that he will be bludging off me in some form or another for the better part of both of our lives. If he’s not stealing my stuff, he’s stealing other peoples stuff. The taxes I pay will cover the police spending time investigating his crimes. Or they will go to paying for his food, electricity, re-training etcetc in prison.
All because he is selfish.