I've picked up police reports in Elgin, Carpentersville, the Dundees and all over our area for 10 years now. I've written plenty of reports about home burglaries and have kept an eye out for patterns -- if houses in a certain area seemed to be getting hit, I'd make sure to note in the police report if those robberies seemed to be in a cluster and, hopefully, give homeowners a heads up that something is going on in their neighborhoods.
But the importance of those reports has a whole new meaning for me, now that it has happened to me.
I was out of town for several days for an aunt's funeral (breast cancer) in North Dakota. I spent an extra day there, too, because my sister and her husband sold their house and moved to Fargo, and they had to get everything out of the old house by end of Sunday. She was breaking down and needed her sister.
But on Sunday night, while I was driving in Fargo, my sister on the phone with my folks, trying to give them directions to her new house, my phone rang. It was my wonderful, dear neighbors telling me that when they went to check on my cat, they found my house had been burglarized.
They found the chain on the door, which was the first tipoff that something was wrong. They got the chain off and found my TV sitting on the living room floor. They immediately called 911.
I was 10 hours away by car. And really mad.
What was stolen, after the jump.
The perps entered through a first-floor window that had a fan in it -- the kind with two small fans that is almost the size of a small AC unit. The screen was down, and you can't push up the screen from the outside. I even had considered taking it out and locking the window before I left, but you'd have to cut the screen and push out the fan to get in. I thought by the time that happened, one of the neighbors would hear something... but apparently not. Because that is what they did.
The TV was still there, it seems, because it was too big to fit out the window. It's a big, heavy, 2004 set that my other great neighbor gave me last summer, to upgrade from my 20-inch TV. God bless him.
What did they get? A mini-DVD player that I used as my bedroom TV and the DVD that was in it. That almost upsets me off the most -- they broke up my "Firefly" DVD set. Best TV show ever, cancelled by Fox after 14 episodes.
They also got just about every half-decent piece of jewelry I own. But here is the thing: I don't have great jewelry. I have lots of costume pieces that mean a lot to me, sentimentally, but nothing worth more than chump change.
They took my class ring, though -- Wahpeton, N.D., Class of '90, purple and gold colors on one side, with a light amethyst stone (looks like a slightly purple fake diamond), a quill and scroll on one side and the drama and comedy masques on the other.
They also took my Black Hills Gold necklace. It is a tiny thing -- two grape leaves with a pearl in between. My Mom worked an extra job cleaning at a jewelry store and gave that to me for Christmas when I was... 14? 16? I can't remember any more. I do know she had to buy it twice. Two small presents disappeared from under the Christmas tree that year, and that necklace was one of them, so Mom worked more hours and bought it again. And now it is gone again.
They also took my sense of security.
Talking to Sue Olafson, the new Public Information Officer for the Elgin Police Department, at bond call on Tuesday, she said that an officer told her it takes just one bad seed for a neighborhood to have problems.
That may be the issue here. Do I have proof? Not yet.
But when the evidence is processed and an arrest is made, remember, you jerks, that I go to bond call every day for The Courier-News. Know that I will be at every status hearing, evidentiary hearing, trial and sentencing to remind everyone involved that I am your victim, but you will not victimize me.
-- Janelle Walker, Freelance Writer