windandwater: (Mistress Sera Says)
[personal profile] windandwater
It seems like the week has gone by superfast, but I guess that's because I had a terrible Monday. If you don't already follow me on Facebook, Monday morning, someone broke into my house while I was in it. It was a terrible way to wake up.

I'm perfectly fine if still a little paranoid, but I wasn't hurt and nothing was stolen. Please don't freak out. I did plenty of that already.



So on Monday morning, I was woken up because the street sweeper truck was coming through the neighborhood and was loud. I can usually sleep through it, but it came by a second time and it made me cranky. I put on my glasses to check what time it was, 9:36 am, and so I took my glasses off and rolled over, because I figured I could stay in bed for another half hour. A few minutes later though, I heard a thumping noise like someone closing the lid of our trashcan (provided by the city) which happens to be under my window against the fence on my side of the house. I thought it might be my dad throwing something away, because sometimes he doesn't go to work because he has a doctor's appointment or something, but he never tells me beforehand. I just wake up and he's still home. So since I was already awake because of the street sweeper truck, I grumbled and rolled out of bed to peek through the closed blinds of my window (still no glasses) to see what my dad was doing.

While I was looking out the window, I heard my bedroom door open behind me, and then slam shut really quick as I was turning to look. All I could think was that it was my dad checking in on me, and then I got really cranky because usually when my dad wakes me in the morning, he makes me do something, like drive him somewhere. But as I was getting my glasses and moving to leave my room to yell at my dad, I can remember thinking that if dad opened my door, maybe it was my mom throwing something away? Were both of them home for some reason?

Before I could even leave my bedroom, I heard the house alarm system start SCREAMING. It was the alarm sound that means a door has been opened without shutting off the system first. I hurried out to the hallway to shut off the alarm, and I was thinking that maybe my dad set off the alarm accidentally? Before I even got to the alarm panel, I could hear the metal security gate over the front door slam. See, over our front door, we have a security gate thing. It's like a screen door, but made of heavy metal. I'm sure you know what I mean, of have seen such things over doors.

I shut off the alarm, then ran downstairs. That's when I saw that the front door had been left wide open, and the metal gate was sort of open, too. I looked out the door into the yard, but didn't seen anything or anyone. And certainly not my dad. I backed up from the door and looked towards the family room, and that's when I saw that all the blinds were still closed, so the whole downstairs was dark. My parents always open the blinds to let in the light when they're home (I do, too).

This is when I first started to think something was wrong.

I ran back upstairs to the middle bedroom to look out the window to see if I could see anything. If you look out the middle bedroom window, you can basically see the whole neighborhood because of how our house is positioned. When I got there, that's when I noticed that the window screen had been ripped open and the blinds were all messed up.

It was super hot on Sunday, and for the week before, so we'd been leaving the upstairs windows open for the breeze. My bedroom window was open, too.

I kind of freaked out, ran to my parents bedroom, which was also dark from having the blinds still closed, and looked out to the backyard and alley but didn't see anyone out there either.

Then I freaked out more. I can remember that I started kind of hyperventilating and clutching my chest and all I could think was that it wasn't my parents, someone broke into the house and they saw me in my room, it wasn't my dad who opened my door, it was some stranger who was going to rob the house and he just ran and set off the alarms. I can remember that I thought this couldn't be happening, with me wearing my nightshirt and glasses and bare feet because this doesn't actually happen, right?

I managed to grab the phone off my parents' dresser and called 911.

I was in panic mode, and everything seemed to take forever while I was freaking out at the police dispatch lady, telling her once I heard her voice: "Someone just broke into my house! Someone broke in and they ran away and I was here!"

In hindsight, the guy was in the house for a minute, maybe less. But the whole thing seemed very very long while I was in it.

I managed to give the dispatch lady my address as I ran downstairs with the phone (yay cordless), and I remember pacing the living room and staring out the wide open front door, though I managed to very gingerly close the metal gate and lock it. The dispatch lady stayed on the phone with me the whole time and I told her everything that happened, and I told her I was a JD, and so I hadn't touched ANYTHING in the house, except to lock the gate.

I'm pretty sure I still sounded panicked, and the dispatch lady managed to get me to go put on my robe ("Are you dressed?" "No! He woke me up!"), and then I went back downstairs again to stare out the front door like the guy would try to come back in or something. I almost started crying, and I was so relieved when I saw the first police car go through the neighborhood. I was still on edge because I was seeing all these cop cars but no one was at the house yet and the lady told me that the cops were circling the neighborhood first but a detective would be at my house soon.

A second car went by, then a third. And then one stopped and I told the dispatch lady. She asked me if I was okay now, and I said yes, and then I asked if it was okay if I could call my mom. She said it was, and hung up, and I called my mom right away. I started freaking out at her ("Don't say anything just listen before I break down someone broke into the house!"), and then the first detective came to the door. I said bye to my mom after telling her to come home, then let the detective in. He was very tall, and wore his badge around his neck on a necklace thing. I was so relieved that I almost started crying but didn't.

I guess I looked pretty bad because he told me to sit down, and to eat some candy from our candy dish (it was a candy cane) because my blood sugar was crashing. I was very glad. I told him everything that had happened, and he made me walk through the house, and I showed him the bedrooms and everything. And I told him that whoever broke in had to be really skinny, because he didn't open the window at all to get in, just ripped through the screen. I was the one who opened the middle bedroom window, and I'm kinda OCD, so I opened it exactly almost halfway, because the window sticks if you open it past halfway.

My bedroom still had my covers flung back, from when I had rolled out of bed to look out the window.

I also walked outside with the detective to show him where the trashcans are, still in my bare feet, and this shows how shaken up I was because I absolutely hate walking around outside in bare feet. I always wear slippers or shoes because I don't like the feel of my feet being dirty. While we were out there, I could see ALL the cops that were suddenly around, over half a dozen I could see. And I could also overhear them talking. I can remember apologizing a lot to the detective. I told him how I didn't have my glasses on when my bedroom door opened, so I didn't really see anyone or could describe them, except that I thought whoever it was, was like my dad. When I mentioned the screen and the window while we were outside, and how I thought it was someone as tall or taller than my dad (5'7", because when I turned to look at my closing bedroom door, I had to look up slightly), I heard them say: "I think it's that teenager we picked up."

See, it was daytime and our neighborhood always has people outside doing stuff. I know there was one guy down the block who was mowing his lawn. Two witnesses had seen someone running away from my house. Also, I guess one of my neighbors is super paranoid, because he has a camera on the roof of his house, taking video of the front yard. Th detective later told me that they called the owner of the house, so they could look at his security recording.

The detective had to keep reminding me to eat my candy cane, and he took me back inside to sit down on the couch again. I guess that he had to do something else, because he traded places with a second detective. This detective was very nice and comforting-looking. I had to tell the second detective everything again, but I didn't mind. I told them how I hadn't touched anything in the house except the metal gate. The CSI lady showed up and started taking photos and dusting for prints. They were very interested in the front door, because the burglar apparently stepped on the dusty threshold while running out, and left an imprint of his shoes there. And also on the trashcan. And he was wearing sneakers with a distinctive tread, like the shape of a star. The detectives radioed each other ("Make sure to get his prints. No, of his shoes. The bottom of them. There's a star or something.") and then a third detective asked me some questions, too. I apologized some more because I couldn't describe anyone that I saw ("I was in my bedroom." "The one with the anime?" "Uhm, yes." "Don't worry, mine's like that, too.") , no colors or anything, because I'm so blind without my glasses. All I could say was that the person was around the height of my dad, and that what they were wearing was sort of dark, because he sort of blended in with the hallway, which was dim because the window blinds weren't open.

While I was sitting on the sofa talking to the second detective (the third one was in and out, going between us and the CSI people who went upstairs to dust and take pictures), my mom came home.

And here's where it's weird and why it seemed like everything took a long time but was very fast: apparently I called my mom around 9:45. The street sweeper truck had come by at 9:36, which I remember very clearly and I told the cops that specific time. Now it was just around 10am or a bit after, because my mom came straight home after I called. She was able to tell the detective that she had set the full alarm on the house when she left in the morning, and that nothing in the middle room had been taken, and that she had been the one to leave all the upstairs doors open.

See, if every room upstairs is open, from the middle room, you can see straight into them. Except my room. I always close my bedroom door when I'm sleeping, because if it's a little open, it swings open and shut and open and shut because of the draft.

The detective told me I was very lucky. The burglar had gone to my room first, saw me, and ran for it. If he was any sort of professional, he might've attacked me, since my back was to him. I could've been dead. I was very lucky.

The cops and CSI people finally finished up with everything. I had finished my candy cane. My mom called my dad to tell him what happened. I was also still clutching the phone in my right hand. I didn't even notice that I hadn't set it down the whole time. The detective gave me his card and the case number, and said he'd call back in a few hours. They already had someone in custody and he was going to be the one to do the questioning. I thanked him, and was surprised they had a suspect/person of interest so quickly.

Then everyone left, and it was just me and my mom in the house. It was very strange. And after I spent some time trying not to freak out again, and I told my mom what had happened, I started to clean. First, I was finally able to go use the bathroom, and brush my teeth, and try to be normal. I changed out of my nightshirt and robe and into clothes. I brushed my hair and pinned my bangs back (they're getting long). I washed the dishes. And I washed off the fingerprint dust on the door and the bannister and went upstairs to wipe down the window in the middle bedroom and my doorknob.

Then my dad came home. He got in a total rage about what happened. After I told him what happened, he immediately went out to accost the neighbors and see if anyone saw anything. I told him not to, since the cops already talked to people and arrested someone already. He didn't listen. He's like that. But I guess it makes sense. Before this, there was news in the neighborhood about someone breaking into cars in neighborhood (cars in driveways or parked on the street), and one person actually had their house broken into as well. Dad also noticed that a chair in the backyard had been knocked over. It also wasn't supposed to be there, because he had moved all the chairs to a different place because it was windy. I told them I'd tell the detective about it when he called, in case the chair need to be dusted for prints, too.

I tried to be normal and get back to my daily routine that I couldn't do earlier. I checked my e-mail and updated FB. Then my mom sent me and my dad out to do some errands. I felt kind of relieved about that, even though dad complained about having to drive a million places. While we were out, the detective called back with an update. My dad called him, left a message, and the detective called back again and I got to talk to him.

They had caught the burglar. It had been the teenager (actually 19) they had caught earlier, before they even got to my house. That's why the cops had been circling the area so hard. He confessed to everything. He told the cops how he had jumped the fence (using the trashcan), used the chair in the backyard to climb on our patio roof (that my dad noticed), walked on the roof to the front of the house and went through the window because it was open. He described the inside of the house. He said he hadn't expected anyone to be home, so when he saw me in my room, he bolted for it.

He's a gangmember from LA. He was visiting his mother for the weekend. They were only 2 blocks away from us. He told his mom he was going out to the store. It was a "whatever" crime. He broke into our house, and if there were people inside or not, "whatever".

It makes me more upset to think that I was a "whatever" crime. I could've been killed for "whatever."

I asked the detective about what would happen next, and if the guy would be released on bail. I told him I didn't feel safe with the guy being only two blocks away ("What if he comes back?!"), and the detective said he made the recommendation that the burglar not be released on bail, though he couldn't control that. He also said that he was a Vet, and since my dad was too (I told him my dad was retired from the Navy when he was getting basic info during the questioning), he'd make sure the burglar got what he deserved. I also asked about the criminal proceedings, and if I'd have to testify or anything, and that the cost of replacing the window screen would be part of restitution in the criminal case. The detective also said that he was going to be interviewing a second woman. She was a victim, too. I guess this guy had a very crime-filled weekend.

And then later in the afternoon, K-chan and Aoi came over. The brought me ice cream, and pepper spray, and a narwhal. ♥ It's nice to have good friends like that.

I can't tell you how relieved I am that this guy was caught so quickly. And I'm very grateful and thankful to the police for being kind to me while I was panicking, and responding super fast, and everything really. Tuesday morning I actually had a bit of a panic attack. I slept badly, and then I heard a noise in the morning around 8am that had me wide awake and I couldn't go back to sleep again until I walked around the upstairs with my baseball bat and checked the rooms and that the alarm was on. There were people outside doing yard things, and the neighbor boy was sitting on his roof as he tends to do, so I felt safer.

... and yes, I've wondered if it would be possible to file a civil suit for the unintentional infliction of emotional distress. The criminal proceedings take precedence though.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-06-21 08:22 am (UTC)
mikkeneko: (ashura)
From: [personal profile] mikkeneko
Isn't it funny how long it takes to convince your brain that no, something really IS out of place? And then once you've got it started, it won't stop, and everything sounds like it could be a signal of something wrong.

I'm so sorry Sera. :( *hugs*

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windandwater

February 2014

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