True Crime

True story: last December we had a break-in.  Our laptop was stolen, along with some of Rob's cigars and cigar paraphernalia (which narrows the question of the burglar's gender quite a bit, I suppose.)

I kept almost everything on the desktop computer; the only files we lost were my lesson plans and grades for a tutoring program (it was near the end of the semester, and I wasn't planning to return even before this) and the papers and notes from my first semester of grad school (I was sad about this until I realized I had meticulously kept all the notes from all of my classes in college, and never once looked at any of them.)  He broke a window in the basement door, which we fixed easily.  We learned a hard lesson about always, always locking the deadbolt.  I had a nice chat with the woman from the Maryland Crime Lab who came to dust the house for prints (really, like in the movies!)  Overall, it could have been much worse; we were really lucky that the robber didn't know enough to steal some of our more valuable possessions -- though he did go through all of my jewelry upstairs, apparently finding nothing he liked.  I tried not to be offended by this.

On top of that, our insurance paid us half the value of our computer up front, and will reimburse us for the other half after we replace it (we're hoping to do that this summer.)  They gave us far more than the laptop was worth, being several years old.  Like I said, lucky.

A couple of weeks ago, Rob got a call from a police officer.  He asked some preliminary questions about the robbery, then paused and said, "I don't know how you're going to take this . . . but we have a suspect in custody."  Rob wondered how he was supposed to take this.  "His name is [something extremely Middle Eastern-sounding.]"  (Was that why he was worried about Rob's reaction?  Please.  A robber is a robber, wherever he might come from.)

They had found him when he pawned the laptop; the serial number came up as stolen.  For reasons I will never understand, the pawn shop was still allowed to sell the laptop, so we'll never see it again.  He was wanted in a couple of other theft cases, so they were putting out a warrant for his arrest.  He asked Rob a couple of more questions, and we forgot about it.

Last week, I got a pre-subpoena to appear as a witness in his trial.  I had to call the courthouse and tell them all of the days I was planning to be out of town or had appointments I couldn't cancel.  The trial will be sometime in the summer.

I'm not sure how I feel about all of this.  More than anything, I feel sorry for the guy.  Nobody steals because it's fun -- not in our neighborhood, anyway, where we're not known for conspicuous consumption.  As more people lose their jobs, more people will feel forced to go to extremes to provide for themselves and their families.

I'm also surprised (and saddened by my surprise) by the effectiveness of the police.  I had expected to never hear a thing again; I thought they had more important things to do.  But I guess the system works the way it's supposed to.

I'm also a little tired of the whole thing, to be honest.  I'm not looking forward to spending a day (or more) in court this summer . . .