About two weeks ago we were woken at 5.20 am to the sound of an alarm. We imagined at first that it was our car, a few nights previous Mr FF had left the garage door open over night so we thought he'd done it again and some creature had got in and triggered the car security. Mr FF was duly sent to investigate while I waited in bed and did start to worry a bit when he was gone for quite some time, I was hoping he was making a pot of tea to settle us back for more sleep. When he eventually came in he told me he'd gone to our garage and heard footsteps on next doors gravel drive, they were away on holiday at the time. So he walked up the back garden, in dressing gown and slippers, to see if there were any cars in the back lane, just in time to see a burglar emerging from next doors garden and legging it down the lane to where his car was parked in the field gateway. Mr FF sensibly kept out of sight until the car drove past at speed when he was able to get part of the number for the police. It transpired that in broad daylight the thief had broken into the garage, taken a ladder, removed a full pane of double glazing from an upstairs window and entered the house, which is alarmed, though the master bedroom window. He'd only triggered the system when he'd finished ransacking that room and moved into the hall way, making his exit when the bell started. In 22 years this was only the second break in we'd had in our little road and we still felt fairly safe as according to the sales literature our window glazing is very secure, metal all round and can only be removed from the inside, plus all our external doors and windows are alarmed.
Then our neighbour on the other side told us he was going away for two weeks and asked us to keep the key. He doesn't have an alarm. We kept an eye on things as did others in the road and either Mr FF or I did a daily walk round the property. On Friday night I went round as usual to find that the glazing in the top half of the back door had been completely removed and there was a lap top lying on the patio outside. This time the thief had plenty of time in the house, all 4 bedrooms and the office were ransacked, I had to go with the forensic man who checked for prints etc and we had the unpleasant duty of phoning John in Vienna to tell him what had happened. The house is a mess, no real damage inside but every drawer, cupboard and wardrobe has been emptied into the room, things thrown everywhere and much as I'd like to tidy up for them before the family come home, they need to discover what has been taken and look for anything that isn't theirs, the thief might have dropped something that could contain DNA.
The first family to be broken into were away on holiday, the wife had been fighting cancer over the last year or so and was making good progress. In the second household, the wife died fairly suddenly early in the year and after a rough time John and his 3 girls decided to go off for a family holiday to help the healing. I know this means nothing to the scum who broke in, they seemed to be looking only for cash or jewellery and left reasonably valuable phones, iPods, cameras etc but the whole situation makes me rage. The police told me that the thieves target an area for a while, there had been other instances locally and in some cases they took nothing but food from the fridge.
The night after I discovered the second break in Mr FF was away for the weekend walking. Bad enough that the houses either side were empty but I was more than concerned when I discovered that our back door is the same as the one that had the glass removed and that taking the glass out and climbing in through the gap wouldn't have triggered our alarm. So I spent a sleepless night, I seemed to get up every half hour or so to put on lights inside and out, check windows and doors and by 5 am I was sitting in the kitchen drinking tea and watching the back garden. OK I can recover from a lost night's sleep but how dare these people impinge on our lives in this way. In both instances here the victims had already suffered life changing setbacks and were feeling low, this is so totally unfair. We've told our potential house purchasers about the burglaries, they are not deterred and we've discussed how they might like us to upgrade security. None of us will be beaten by this scum, it brings our little community closer together as we watch out for each other, but my goodness it is dreadful to think our houses and comings and goings may be monitored by these criminals.