Monday, August 18, 2008

Violated


(Puzzle piece number 15 of 38.)
Something strange and scary happened yesterday, a Sunday. My daughter and I finally went out, had lunch, and shot pool. That’s strange in itself, because we’ve been extremely conservative and boring this summer.

The scary part was coming home. Our alarm had been disarmed, and my daughter found our chef’s knife lying on the kitchen floor.

Stupidly, she and I searched the entire house. It appeared that no doors or windows had been entered in the main two levels of the house. In the lower level were our Lab and two cats, one of which would have taken a serious bite out of crime had he been given the chance. But he hadn’t. He was blocked by a loosely hung door between the upstairs hallway and stairs that descend to our lower level. When the door is bumped, it bangs against its frame and makes an abrupt, jarring noise—enough to scare anyone out of the house. And we’re presuming that is why no one was in the house when we arrived.

After the initial shock, I realized I’d lost my reading glasses downtown and was on the phone trying to locate them. My daughter was in her room changing clothes. I then called the friend we had just played pool with to tell him about our experience, when suddenly my daughter shrieked and ran toward me, face flushed, frightened like I’d never seen before.

“Mom! Man!” she screamed. I immediately thought he was in our house, so I flew out the door expecting her to follow as I abruptly ended my phone conversation. I couldn’t understand why she headed in a different direction, until I saw she’d put her shoes on. “He’s on the side of the house!” she screamed, and proceeded to chase the guy! I immediately dialed 911, ran after my daughter, explained our emergency to the operator, then had my daughter describe the offender she saw standing outside her window.

Within about four minutes, four police cars were in front of our home, and my friend, who flew from across town to help, reported that two more police cars were on the adjacent street. We explained to three of the officers where the guy had run, and within four minutes, one officer ran for his car, which he mounted like his steed and drove at about 50 on our 20-mile-per-hour street.

Two officers saw the guy and chased him into a large field two blocks away, then lost him amidst some cattails and possibly into an apartment. Within another 10 to 15 minutes, the police had CSPD K-9 dog unit searching the area.

By 8 p.m. it was starting to get dark. The two officers who had seen the thug left the other officer to take info for the report. We deduced that the criminal had scaled a back wall with the help of a children’s swimming pool and entered through an open garage window 10 feet up. Like too many homeowners, the door between the garage and house was not locked.

We feel violated, trapped in a way. Does this mean we can’t keep our windows open? Do we have to stay home and guard our house like a dog would—if his owners don’t cordon him off from a particular area? Must we be hypervigilant about locking our doors, about whom we open our doors to?

Apparently.

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