29 September 2008

Gone In Sixty Seconds

Just managed to struggle out of bed this morning (Saturday) and heard J speaking to the neighbour. Didn’t know whether it was Tan or Angie but I immediately thought ‘they’ve been burgled’. I don’t know why I thought that but unfortunately it was true. 

Went over to see them whilst J phoned the Gendarmes and as usual they’d come in in the middle of the night, had gone down the stairs and into the lounge where they took Angie’s mum’s 2 cameras, Angie’s laptop and one of Tan’s cameras. They’d then passed the main bedroom and had rifled through the make-up bags in the bathroom where lady’s apparently keep their jewellery. They'd then gone outside to look at their haul before taking a cushion cover off of the swing-sofa which they used to carry their booty away. And all this whilst 4 people were sleeping. 

They’d actually got in by taking the face plate off of the outside main door lock and then by using some sort of special tool, had cut the lock out which allowed them to open the front door. After that, and knowing the basic layout of the homes out here, they’d probably been in and out in a minute or so. 

The police came and whilst sympathetic, had said that it is virtually impossible to keep one’s home safe from these vermin. You can lock doors and they’ll get in. The bars on windows (out here it’s an insurance requirement) were no deterrent as they use car jacks to widen the bars and then squeeze through. The only thing they said might, and I will repeat, might stop them is a full video camera system but even then these guys (and I’m assuming they are guys) are probably not too worried if they get caught on camera because the burglary detection and prosecution rate is so small. The only thing which deters them (probably) is something which causes noise when they are breaking in so they never break glass and avoid deadbolts which make a noise when being loosened. 

It was a bad start to the weekend and even worse for Angie’s mum who is visiting from the states. She lost all the photos she’d taken of her little granddaughter over the previous 2 weeks. Angie’s laptop had all her music, all her photos and all her contacts and mails as well as a pile of other personal stuff, much of which will be impossible to replace or replicate. 

For the reason that I might get up one night and find some burglar wandering around the house, I have pick-axe handles scattered about the place. If I ever come across one of these scum I truly believe I would smash every bone in their body and then call the police. 

Back in Glasgow when I was just 12 our family had returned from a night out visiting relatives when, as my mother was opening the front door, a couple of youths pushed her aside and ran out. Our smallish dog ran after them and managed to get one in a corner and although pretty small her bared fangs had frightened him enough to keep him there. My father grabbed him, dragged him back to the house and put him in a corner of the lounge. He picked up a poker and I feared the worst but he merely handed me the poker and told me that if the guy moved I was to lay into him. He went off to the local phone box to call the police - we didn't have a phone in the house in those days! Of course, Patch the dog was beside me still baring her fangs but I was pretty scared of (a) the guy trying to make a break for it and (b) what my reaction would be. Would I be brave enough to wallop the guy ? It never came to that because the police arrived pretty quickly and off the miscreant went. He was local and only got the usual slap on the wrist and was out and about again the next day. I used to see this guy over the following few years and we probably both had our own thoughts. Could he have made a run for it and would I have smacked him with the poker? We’ll never know what might have happened.   

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