Third time unlucky – burglars are scum

Now seems appropriate to repost something from just over a year ago:

Today, I was reminded of the ultimate reason why I prefer experiences to stuff.

Nobody can take away your experiences and memories away from you.

On the other hand, it’s all too easy for someone to steal your physical belongings.

This makes the third time we’ve been robbed, plus the separate theft of T’s first motorbike. The first occurred while we lived in the ghetto (where some little shits from around the corner had a vendetta for us, smashing my flatmate’s car’s windscreen multiple times, and actually walking down the street once carrying the camera/bag they stole from me. But no, we never could actually pin them now legally). The second was at our last residence, and that was definitely a facepalm as the door was unlocked. And some time later, a separate theft of T’s bike from our driveway on a very stormy weekend night it was one of the top pro scooters of 2017, on which there were a lot of other robberies in the city.

This time, the thieves slid out glass panes from the small window by our back door, which I didn’t even know you could do. The window was shut, just to clarify – and it’s made up of many small panes stacked vertically – like in this link. The cop reckons there were three people involved – one wearing gloves, two without.

This also prompted me to try and figure out if we as a country have a relatively high burglary rate, and it looks like we may actually be in the top three. Anecdotally, the majority of people I know have escaped being burgled, but I know a few who haven’t and can think of one who’s also been hit multiple times – and he wasn’t insured, losing all of his guitars.

So, yeah, speaking of guitars … mine has survived our previous breakins, but third time unlucky. That kinda sucks. I got my first job at 15, and not long after that, got a second job and worked pretty much constantly in my free time. I saved up a grand in a few months and bought myself an Ibanez Rg170 and an amp. So, it’s a sentimental thing.

Sadly, I don’t think I have any photos anymore of it, so it’s all down to memory. Thankfully, the receipt for that is still in the handbag I used to use back then – so faded it’s almost illegible, but visible enough for insurance purposes. (Yes, I am that dorky I kept the receipt for nearly 10 years because it was the most money I’d ever spent, and represented months of working and saving – never considering I might actually require it for a real reason.)

Needless to say, that was a rather crap piece of news to come home to. T met me at the airport on Wednesday night when I touched down from Sydney at midnight. He has this way of faffing around – “I have bad news …. you’re not going to want to hear it” – that I know too well. I really would rather he just blurt it out. But of all things, this just did not compute. Poor thing, he’d been stressing about it and wondering if he should call me to break the news, but decided against it and just got on with the police stuff instead.

I am also grateful that I took both my work-issued laptop and iPad on my trip; I was given the iPad only a couple of weeks ago, and would not want to have to deal with the theft of it.

This time around we got hit hard – previously it was only my laptop/camera, then laptop/TV. This time it was TV, laptop, air gun, guitar, bass, two amps, Xbox, a few games, and I think a couple other little things I can’t be assed checking in the report right now.

I’m particularly annoyed because I just spent $200 repairing my laptop. Both our amps recently got fixed, albeit for free (mine randomly sorted itself out, a friend tinkered with his, and we finally bought a new lead for him). My SD card was in my computer and I had a bunch of photos to go through and edit. As to documents, though, I’m a big cloud user – so even through I haven’t backed up anything on my hard drive since before we moved (the drive is still in its box and hasn’t been unpacked) I’m not fussed. Doubtful the burglars are going to try to go through my computer, but it has a password anyway.

But on the other hand, it’s not like we’re serious musicians. My amp is a budget Ashton and is in pretty poor shape after years of frequent disuse and misuse, and my guitar’s output jack has always been shonky. My laptop was definitely entering middle age.

And overall, I’ve gotten pretty good at taking bad news. I don’t want to sound sorry for myself, but a lot of shit has happened to us in our adult lives to date. So I can deal, and I can even see the silver lining (we’ve come a looooong way from my emo teens).

And to prove it, here are three fun highlights from the whole situation

Memory fail

Me: I can’t remember what make your bass amp was (I bought it lightly used off Trademe for him). What was it?!

Him: Peavey?

Me: WTF? I would never buy you a Peavey! Your amp was a quality brand. Start listing names and I’ll know it when I hear it. It was NOT a freakin’ Peavey.


Among the items taken was the RC car T got from his brother. But today I got a text from him in the afternoon: Found RC car in garage.

Amateur comedian

The Chinese detective who came out to dust for prints and whatnot (he was probably the same one who attended our last breakin, but I have an awful recall when it comes to faces, and it’s not helped when dealing with Asians, despite my own heritage) was quite the funnyman. To my dismay, I cannot recall any of his exact jokes, but fun was poked at burglars multiple times as he went about the job, and it was impossible not to chuckle along. Oh wait – there was one moment when he discussed the greasiness of the prints he picked up, which he attributed either to the thieves having just polished off a good takeaway meal, or being fairly young and having their glands still in sebum overdrive.

I gotta end on a bit of a bum note, though. It’s not like on TV where the tiniest bit of evidence is enough to nab someone. We have partial prints but they’re unlikely to yield anything (and take weeks to process anyway).

It may also well be someone we know – a former friend of T’s from when they were growing up, now a crackhead who’s gone off the rails. We’ll call him RD. He knows where we live (only because mutual friends brought him to a party here; we have nothing to do with him anymore). His ex, when spoken to about the robbery by someone else we know (I don’t want to get into describing all the degrees of connections here…), knew about it. So that’s suspicious. T’s cousin, who’s plugged into that whole underlife scene, said the guy had been looking to “smoke a TV”, which I’m told in crackhead talk means, well, you can probably figure it out. T and RD do not get along anymore as RD is a piece of shit, frankly, who last we heard was going around beating up and robbing people for fun, and apparently threatened T the last time/s they interacted.

T mentioned the guy to the police, of course, and they said they’d been looking for him (of course! At our party, another of our friends who is a cop was itching to arrest RD, and had just gotten a warrant that morning). And yesterday T found out RD had been caught breaching parole (his seedy grapevine seems to know all. Westies what). I don’t really want to know, to be frank. Do I want to leverage said seedy grapevine to track the guy down and confront him? I really don’t. There’s no way that can improve the situation.

My itch to travel has been intensifying of late, and my urge to buy a house as well. Like I said last week, if we get married soon, I don’t want to keep renting till we’re 30, scraping together a deposit, living in old, cold, damp houses (ours has no insulation and NZ houses are among the coldest in the OECD). Here’s an amusing, yet sad, story about someone using bubble wrap as cheap insulation. And now I would also like a more secure home (T has been looking at some cool camera/alarm systems online, but with our future plans very uncertain, we won’t be investing in one yet. Maybe we’ll move to another city or country for a while. Or travel for an extended time. T is looking at new jobs, etc etc. I have to renew our lease next month and dithering over what length to lock in). I want a warm, dry, safe house where I can compost and don’t have to fight over hot water with our neighbour in back. For me, it’s not an either/or. I am determined to both fit in travel and home ownership, but they’re not going to happen in tandem.

Funnily enough, Pear tweeted me before I left that if I was leaving my ring behind, I should make sure it was in a safe place. Talk about coincidence. (Thankfully, none of my very few pieces of jewellery were touched. I shudder to think what the reaction to the theft of a third-generation family ring would be. If I ever go away again, I’ll wear the damn thing, and not take it off for anything while I’m gone. And this is why, even if we could afford it, I never wanted an expensive ring.)

13 thoughts on “Third time unlucky – burglars are scum

  • Reply Daisy @ Add Vodka July 14, 2012 at 02:42

    Jeez! I’m so sorry. I had my wallet stolen recently and felt so violated – I can only imagine what it would be like to have somebody in my living quarters when I’m not home. So you have insurance? These things will be replaced?

  • Reply Sunny July 14, 2012 at 06:33

    That’s horrible. Hopefully they will catch the person responsible. I’m glad your family heirlooms were left behind.

  • Reply Bridget July 14, 2012 at 06:34

    oh my god. That’s so horrible I can’t believe how much stuff was taken!

    My house was robbed when I was a child and I remember feelings so violated. I had my iPhone stolen in May but I don’t think it quite gives you the same sensation as someone breaking into your home and actually touching and taking your things. It feels like nowhere is safe.

  • Reply Caitlin July 14, 2012 at 09:08

    Wow, I am so sorry for the theft.

    I know that they say you should make sure to video your belongings for insurance purposes, etc but I have failed to do so. A post like this reminds me that I should get on that and organizing my receipts better ASAP.

    I hope the insurance covers all of your missing items, although I know that those sentimental items can never be replaced.

  • Reply Tracey July 14, 2012 at 13:10

    This story makes me feel really uneasy. I’m so sorry this has happened to you AGAIN! Such lowlifes. The burglary statistics you linked to were really shocking. It’s looking like I may have to leave my house empty when I go on holiday, so I’ll be moving all my valuables to my mum’s place.

    As for the bubble wrap – I’ve just done this (called bubble-glazing in our house πŸ™‚ It helps keep the heat in and is a good cheap way to help stay warm until I can afford to get new double-glazed windows.

  • Reply Financial Samurai (@financialsamura) July 14, 2012 at 19:39

    I’m glad you at least have your ring and your ipad!

    I got my car broken into once, but that’s it.

    Sometime I wish the thieves would take everything, including my TVs so I don’t have to move when I finally do.

    Less stuff the better!

  • Reply Sense July 14, 2012 at 23:56

    Holy crap! AGAIN??? I’m sorry people are such douches. And that you seem almost resigned to this as a fact of life. Straight up: you shouldn’t have to deal with this, even once.

    Three or four times in a few years is extraordinarily excessive; something is wrong with this picture. It is interesting you mentioned that it could be someone you know. That was my first thought upon reading about the third burglary: it has to be someone that knows you, has been in your house, etc., and specifically targeted you.

    Sheesh, I mean, like, it should be obvious to people, but can you decree that those kinds of seedy douchebags are not allowed in your house, ever ever ever? More importantly, why on earth would any of your friends bring a known crackhead lowlife thief into your home, your personal and sacred space, on purpose?? It makes me wonder about these friends, too. Of course they didn’t know this was going to happen or mean for it to, but if your friends are still associated with him and tolerating his lifestyle, so are you, by proxy, no matter how much you don’t talk to the perp now. That is where moving far far away from former friends and ridiculous family members comes in very handy–it’s much easier to cut ties and make better friends who actually mesh with your new priorities in life. Maybe this is a sign to go ahead with your moving and travel plans!

    In the meantime, can you move into an apartment, no forwarding address? Apartments don’t really get hit. (Do they?)

    Oh and a cheap fix even more in the meantime? Get alarm stickers and put them in prominent places. It will deter the thieves even though you don’t actually have an expensive alarm. πŸ˜‰ And tell everyone you have installed a very high tech system, just in case they are tempted to hit you again a few weeks later, after you have replaced everything, like they sometimes do!

    I think I would have to move soon after getting burglarized; I don’t think I would feel safe in my home anymore. I am glad you, your boy, and your ring are all safe and sound. Best of luck in sorting it out! Sorry this is so long, I just got so upset on your behalf!!

    • Reply eemusings July 15, 2012 at 13:25

      Oh, I know. This is partly why I’ve definitely been considering moving to another city or country for awhile – it’s very tempting. T comes from a life where friends and family are all of a certain seedy ilk. And while he doesn’t associate with the lowlifes anymore, he is only ever a degree or two away from them. I had a ranty rant a little while ago about his friends, because I really can’t understand it – he can do much better. Sure it’s nice to have friends who make you feel you have your shit together, but you also need friends to push you. And loyalty is great, but continuing to mix with fuckwits and and to the point of bringing them back into our paths is not a great thing to do for your friends.

      Apartments are definitely more secure. But we’ve been there and done that and hated the lifestyle.

  • Reply Financial Samurai (@financialsamura) July 15, 2012 at 03:35

    BTW, it sounds like the burglar is DEFINITELY someone you know, or who knows you. Can’t be a coincidence that it happened while you were away.

    • Reply eemusings July 15, 2012 at 13:22

      Well, it was only me away, not T – he was still here. And not many people knew I was gone.

  • Reply Manda July 15, 2012 at 05:35

    Oh God, that’s awful. I’m so glad you had your iPad and ring with you and that they weren’t among the items taken. The worst part is that it could have been done by someone you know (or knows you) :/

  • Reply Leah July 15, 2012 at 06:31

    That just sucks. Half the time it’s not the cost of the items – it’s just the inconvenience of dealing with it all. Hope it’s not too painful trying to sort insurance and replacements and what-not.

  • Reply The Asian Pear July 15, 2012 at 09:46

    holy crap again?!? EEK! Now I feel like I jinxed it. I’m so sorry about the burglary especially taking the guitar too. Yikes. Sometimes losing something of sentimental value is really worse than the monetary value. The important thing is you and T are safe.

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