Thursday, March 1, 2012
it is a quiet crime—an unlocked door, nobody home except one ancient cockatiel and two gentle labradors who welcome anyone with lovely smack, slurp kisses—and a tidy crime, too—almost unnoticeable until you look real close.
come in; walk with me. do you see what i mean?
no mess, no untidiness whatsoever. this is not at all how i imagine a crime scene to present itself (too much hollywood in my head, i suppose). no drawers opened and riffled through, their private contents lewdly pawed over and exposed, raked and sprawling over the edge of the wood. no breakables broken, no lamps toppled, no paintings hanging askew, hardly anything out of place. no evidence of a ransacker (such an expressive word!) until.....
you get to the master bedroom where there is some damning evidence that a ransacking has indeed occurred. the burglar had inspected an antique jewelry box, and its contents had been partially, selectively, removed—why, i want to ask this person, pocket a few nice looking pieces of jewelry and not the others? even though some of the pieces may have seemed expensive, none were—everything in the jewelry box was cheap costume jewelry—except one piece which, quite inexplicably, was left behind. why did you do that? and another question for you: why remove an infant's silky pink hair bow from the box—a keepsake from when my youngest was newborn—and take it with you? you worked very precisely, whoever you are, nothing knocked down or tossed aside, or, in an effort to make a hasty retreat, dropped onto the floorboards on your way out the door.
next let's turn our attention to other areas of the thief's plunder. witness this: several pairs of fine gold earrings snagged from the top of a bathroom counter (normally my good stuff is in a safe place but, unfortunately, not on this day), one macbook pro deftly lifted from a desk, but another, clearly visible, left on the dining table—why? one large backpack was stolen, too (i presume, and the police presume, to carry all this stuff); i had left it on a bed (in another of the four rooms where items were stolen), filled with folded clothes, a couple books, paper, pens, and a cosmetic bag i was bringing on a trip with me in two days.
witness a totally neat freak thief: the clothes were not quickly, messily, dumped out of the backpack, as one might expect, to make room for the burglar's loot, but instead were neatly, and oh so tidily, removed and placed on the bed, still carefully folded and rolled the way i had packed them earlier in the morning. of the three sterling silver bracelets on the bed beside the bag (the only items of value in there), one was pilfered, the other two left behind. i say spooky. weird. a quirky thief?
people ask me if i'm nervous these days, they wonder if i feel sullied, violated—almost in a physical way—because my home, my private domain, was rudely invaded by a faceless stranger. i can honestly say no, i don't feel those things. i'm just glad no people were home and that the dogs are fine (if only the dogs could speak! if only they were fangy, snarling dobermans!)
at first i was angry—now i'm only saddened. i'm not saddened by the loss of mere material objects which can be easily replaced, but by the shear desperation of a human being who has sunk into such a mire and feels compelled to do something like this. for what? drug money? or just money? why? i want to ask the thief how did you get to this place where burgling is a normal and okay occupation? how did you reach this point in your life? what caused the plunge to this lowest of lows?
the police detectives continue to investigate. there have been nine other similar robberies—unlocked doors, stolen jewelry and computers—in neighboring towns.
things change. maine country life is not as idyllic as it used to be. we have to increase our vigilance and be aware of suspicious activity, strangers, the unknown. we have to remember to stick the key in the lock and give it a forceful turn, even if we only step out for a moment.