Robbed, I Tell You

25th August 2008

So. What can I say about being burglarized that’s constructive?

Well, first off, none of us were hurt. The thief broke in in the middle of the day, and we all (oddly) happened to be gone. So the burglar got our stuff, but the baby is safe. It makes me feel better just to type that, actually. Isn’t it nicer when you don’t have to attack a guy climbing in your apartment window while the baby looks on? I think so.

Fortunately, our sentimental things are mostly not expensive things, but this whole robbery gig is starting to feel personal. As you may remember, in December, someone stole my purse while we were in Argentina. The car’s been broken into a couple of times in the last year (always in different neighborhoods), and Bryan had his bike stolen from a coffee shop near his office a couple months ago. Whee!

However, having a baddie inside the house is a whole new level of yuck. Seeing all our drawers dumped out on the bed, waiting for the police to come take fingerprints, noticing one thing is gone, and then another, all day long. It’s gross. It makes me want to give the whole apartment a shower.

Anyway, we’re fine, but shaken. For the next few days I’m going to try not to cry when someone cuts me off in traffic or is curt to me as I’m ordering coffee, and then we’ll see how it goes.

Thanks to everyone who Twittered their concern. You guys keep proving how nice you are, and that is why I like you.

101 thoughts on “Robbed, I Tell You

  1. Yolanda

    Glad to hear everyone is safe. Unfortunately, being robbed doesn’t make you feel safe. Hoping a feeling of normalcy returns, soon.

  2. samantha

    so sorry to hear maggie…. people steal from my retail store all the time and it just puts the worst feeling in the pit of my stomach. hang in there!

  3. Laura

    That’s awful and violating. I’m with you. It was my laptop, my car and my purse (wallet, house/car keys, prescription eyeglasses that I *ADORED*, etc.)…all in two weeks.

    It’s scary. And a huge inconvenience. But (not that I know you), I’m glad that you and yours are safe.

  4. Sarah

    Maggie, I am so sorry to hear that your home was broken into. Something similar happened to me several years ago in my dorm room in London, and it was deeply unsettling. I hope your normalcy returns soon. In the meantime, take care and be gentle with yourself.

    I attempted mine with a different dorm room and by sticking a sign by the light switch “Have already been robbed once. Nothing of value. Take the liquor and leave me alone.”

  5. HouseofJules

    I know exactly what you’re going through and I’m so sorry. You’re right to try and focus on the positive stuff, but I remember well what it felt like the night I came home to my own broken-in apartment and that sense of your safe place being violated can be totally overwhelming. At the time I didn’t have really anything of value besides some (not very expensive, but it was all I had) jewelry and about $1200 of camera equipment, along with some cash that was set aside for a trip I was taking 2 days later. Of course the camera equipment, jewelry and cash were all stashed away in hidden places of my apartment but they found it all anyway.
    Sending you lots of love & positivity.
    House of Jules

  6. kdiddy

    we were burglarized about a year ago. it was really icky, especially since it was in the middle of the night and we were all upstairs asleep. I still get creeped out, but I take comfort in the fact that it was totally random. we were just unlucky that particular night.

  7. clair

    That sucks, and I’m really sorry to hear about it. A month after my apartment was robbed earlier this year, I threw a crime scene celebration bash. I reenacted the scene with footprints tracing the thieves’ path through my apartment, hung up some police tape and made evidence markers, and invited everyone I knew for a party. It absolutely made my place feel like home again, and it vanquished all of the icky feelings of violation. Sending good thoughts your way.

  8. lani

    While I’m happy everyone is safe, I know it’s hard to feel very secure knowing someone broke into your living space. It’s a bummer when someone creepy takes that freedom away. Hugs.

  9. amy

    dude. I am so sorry. make sure you cleanse the apartment of all bad juju with some burning sage and shit. I feel terrible… Thank God you were not around!

  10. Sharon B.

    Oh. Maggie, I am so glad no one was hurt. WOuld you like me to box up all the Lysol-like green cleaning products I have in the house and send them your way?? I’m sure they won’t stain TOO bad. Turn up your ESPN, I’m broadcasting happy cheerleader vibes to lift your spirits.

  11. SG

    I totally feel your pain. It’s been three months since I arrived finding home and found my most valuable (but luckily not the most sentimental) items disappeared. They even stole a bottle of tequila, which I sorely missed right that instant as I stood in my doorway kicking myself for not having renter’s insurace. Crap. If you discover what takes that damned graphite off of window blinds, do let us all know. Sending warm, safe thoughts.

  12. Shevon

    That’s so terrible, I’m sorry you had to go through that. Would it be totally impossible to take a mini break to the weekend house?

  13. emdot

    Maggie, my heart goes out to you guys. And you nailed it on the head with giving your whole apartment a shower. I’m glad you guys are safe, but still…. Such a bummer about being robbed. :(

  14. MontanaJen

    Completely and utterly terrible! Bad bad bad people!

    I don’t have anything to compare, and can’t imagine how utterly violated you must feel knowing that a complete stranger, one who held no respect for anything, was in your very personal space.

    I’m sure it doesn’t help at all, but that bad guy(s) will get his tenfold. Here’s thanking all higher powers that you and yours were away when it happened. Phew!

  15. Em

    Last year my dad’s house got robbed. They took paintings, pictures, all weirdly personal things. They took his box of buttons which he had for forty years (and which I always played with as a kid). In that box were my baby teeth. I still feel sick when I think about it and I am so sorry it happened to you.

  16. tulip

    I’m so sorry! I’m glad you are all OK though. I know exactly what you mean about giving the apartment a shower. Big hugs and we will be thinking of you guys.

  17. Shannon White

    That is very upsetting. I hope in time (soon) you can feel secure and peaceful in your home again.

    Or you could move to Indiana. We’ve never been robbed. And you can buy a new 2800 sq. foot house for under $200k. : )

  18. Linds

    Wow, I’m glad to hear you all are all right! But it’s still scary, and invasive. I had someone try to break in to my first apartment (oh, so many years ago!)… I was there, which brought a whole different level of fear.

    And you put it exactly: wanting to give the whole apartment a shower.

    I hope you can feel safe again. I refused to move until I felt safe again… or rather, I refused to move just because of the attempted break in. Thinking good thoughts for you.

  19. Assertagirl

    Oh Maggie, that IS gross…I remember in high school my mom’s car was stolen, and she didn’t even want it back. The thought of what *might* have gone on in that car while it was gone was just too awful for her to contemplate.

    Hopefully this’ll all be behind you soon.

  20. Christina

    God that really sucks. My house was broken into years ago and it felt creepy for months. I’m a long time lurker coming out to say – I’m really sorry you have to go through this but I’m glad you are all safe, despite the creepiness.

  21. Amy

    I’ve been burgled, too, and know how awful it is. It’s hard to get your peace of mind back after such an event but one thing that helped me was installing do-it-yourself security measures, like door and window alarms. Just go to Amazon and search on “door alarm” and “window alarm” and you’ll find some good, inexpensive options.

    Heck, maybe you could even do a Mighty Goods piece on home and personal security and use your own experience to help others. Granted, most security items don’t fall into the unique and beautiful category like the things you list, but there are some interesting things out there, like the pepper spray that looks like a tube of lipstick.

  22. Betsy

    Maggie, I don’t usually comment, but just wanted to say how sorry I am — what a crap thing to deal with. if I knew you in real life I’d come over with a piece of pie, cup of tea, and bottle of wine.

  23. Stella

    I’m so sorry this has happened! I’m glad to know you are all safe. When I was an undergrad, I had a group of stalkers continuously follow me, up to the point were they broke into/damaged my car several times. The feeling of paranoia stays to this day.

    Sending you positive vibes!

  24. madge

    Wow. I feel for you. Robbed at home in NYC twice. Car broken into once. Then! Friend’s apartment robbed while I was visiting her in SF. The highlight: The flamboyant SFPD CSI who came over to dust for prints. The lowlight: Having to throw out all my underwear, twice, because I couldn’t get over the skeeve factor of wearing that which had been rifled through.

    Get police report of everything taken and make generous value estimates. That document makes a great tax deduction.

  25. Stephanie

    Maggie I am so sorry. Someone broke into my car one and that’s exactly what it felt like, gross! The driver seat had been moved back and it was just SO WRONG.

    I’m glad to hear that you are all safe.

  26. mamie

    oh, yuck, is right. it is good that you did not have to beat the shit out of a robber in front of sweet hank. but, still…that just sucks.

  27. just beth

    This is really just horrible, and I’m really sorry. We were robbed more than two years ago, and I’m just now getting over it. It was even an out building, but I was alone… anyway. Gross.

    I vote that you take one of your things off of your list and get a dog. :-)

    Sending happy thoughts…



  28. Morgan

    that is horrible, but I’m just glad that you are all safe. It’s shocking that people still break in and take things that don’t belong to them…you would think we would have evolved past that.

    I hope the world is nicer to you from now on.

  29. Lisa

    Happened to me too. They even went through my underwear drawer which made me feel so violated and disgusted, I screamed, cried, and threw up. In that order.

  30. Jan

    Although it’s not as bad as a home burglary, I had my purse stolen almost literally from under my nose in a grocery store and in it was a $600 PDA. I entertained happy thoughts of the thieves trying to charge it with the car battery and then I imagined the resulting conflagration and it made me feel better. Try it. Imagine awful things happening to them when they try to use or sell your stuff. It’s therapeutic.

    They also got the spare key to my car along with my driver’s license with my address on it so it was like “Come claim your free car!” (They never did.)

    I also like to imagine the look on their faces when, rifling through the bag’s contents, they found my badge. It was at that point that I presume the whole thing went into a river or something because nothing was ever found. (This was several years ago.)

    Sending many vibes of strength and support your way, and wishing I could do more.

  31. brie

    Blech! I felt so badly for you when I read this on Twitter and now again with this post. Robbery is such a violation. I’m so glad to read that your family wasn’t home and wasn’t harmed in any physical way. Still, that yucky, gross feeling that lingers is so horrible. I hope that it passes quickly. I’m also hoping they get caught or at least you get some of your stuff back…and sending those de-yuck-the-apartment-type-vibes.

  32. Ms. Karen

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. I understand that feeling of wanting to disinfect your world.

    We had our car stolen out of our driveway. In the trunk were items from our daughter’s wedding. The car was recovered, but the creeps had smoked something vile in it. Also, the trunk had been cleared out in order to hold stolen parts from other cars.

  33. Viv

    So sorry about the break in. It’s not even the stuff that’s stolen, it’s the fact that some arsehole was in YOUR house, going through YOUR space, YOUR stuff. It’s such a violation. Hope they catch the jerk.

  34. jessica

    mean peopel suck! so sorry to hear about your misfortune, but so glad to hear all the masons are safe.

  35. Kylee

    Oh My, that sounds completely horrific, Maggie. I am relieved everyone is safe and that you weren’t around for it. I am so sorry it even happened.

  36. Brandy

    It makes me angry when someone so obviously full of good intentions and good will has something so violating happen. The good news is I know you will take this terrible experience and make something good out of it. In the meantime, darn those evildoers to heck, to heck I say!

  37. Kim

    It horrible isn’t it? When our home was broken into the thief ate a piece of birthday cake. Who does that?

  38. Sarah

    oh, how utterly foul. I’m so sorry to hear this. I’d say cry whenever and for whatever spurious reason that comes along right now. Being burgled must feel like such a personal violation. Very glad you’re all safe and sound.

  39. dmom

    For the love of Pete!!! After all those robberies I think your only option is to move here to Canada. We’ll change our name from the Royal City to the Mighty City and we’ll keep you safe!!!!

  40. Cindy

    Ugh…This sucks! The same thing happened to us a few years ago. They had even left a pile of stuff by the door so they could come back for more. Oddly enough I was more concerned that they had scrubbed their butts with my toothbrush or had been drinking straight from the milk carton then the stuff they had taken.

  41. alicia

    So sorry that this happened to you. About 2 years ago a guy broke in to my house through an exterior laundry room. He literally busted out the drywall & crawled into my dining room at 1 in the afternoon. Thankfully, I wasn’t home, but just the thought that I could have been there in the shower or something haunted me for a while. It was a crazy, eye-opening experience. fortunately, he was caught about 4 months later. Glad to hear you & your family are safe.

  42. Her Ladyship

    Yikes, that blows. I remember when I was like six our house got burgled when no one was home. (My mom walked in, realized someone else had been there, grabbed the cat, and went next door to call the cops.) You’re right, it is an icky feeling to have someone else invade your privacy. Hope the baristas are kind to you this week.

  43. JA

    That is totally craptastitic. Do your best to keep your head and we are happy to hear that you are all safe.

    Thank you.

  44. Jennifluff


    I am so so sorry. But I am glad that you and your family are okay. I hope the creepies go away asap.

  45. ShannonO.P.

    I just wanted to say that I’m really, really sorry. That just sucks.
    I’m glad you and your family are ok.

  46. Bonnie

    Makes me think of that recent post in which you described a strange readiness to defend yourself and baby with a broken bottle if necessary. So glad your maternal fierceness was not tested. But man, that blows.

  47. Nancy

    I think it was the second time my apartment was robbed that, as I sat in the middle of the floor sobbing, the radio started to play the Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” That made me feel, oh, not better exactly, but shifted my brain.

    It does just simply suck.

  48. Carolyn

    So very sorry you had to go through that, but so very glad all of you are safe. I’ll share two stories with you – hope they help.

    When my husband was eight years old, some creep broke in on Christmas Eve when everyone was sleeping and took all the presents. And the worst part was, there wasn’t exactly much to take since his father had recently been laid-off at work. I want to cry everytime I think about what it must have been like, to wake up on Christmas Day completely heartbroken.

    Before I was born, another jerk robbed my mom and dad. My mom was home alone with my oldest brother, probably Hank’s age at the time. She told me that she sensed that someone was in the house, so she picked up the baby, quietly went out the front door and walked quickly to a neighbor’s house where she called the police. The thief had entered through the back door and ransacked my parent’s bedroom. The two things stolen were my mother’s jewelry (grandma’s engagement ring) and a small box that my dad kept in on the top shelf of the closet. The thief probably thought it contained money, so they grabbed it and left. Instead, the box contained my dad’s honorable discharge papers (he served in WWII), his ribbons and medals, as well as the names and addresses of the men he had served with. To this day, my father most regrets having lost that list of names and addresses.

    After that incident, my parents went to the shelter and adopted a dog. A miniature poodle that someone had abandoned- apparantly the grooming costs were more than the original owner bargained for. My mom loved that little dog! He didn’t shed, was incredibly loyal (followed my mom everywhere and would stand guard at whatever room she was in), and he had one heck of a bark. That little dog loved my mom to pieces, but was known to scare off the pants off the mailman. Even made the neighborhood German Shepard run away with his tail tucked between his legs!

    Life is really unfair at times, but try to look on the bright side. No one was injured. The rest heals with time. My advice, get a yappy little dog who loves you to pieces.

  49. Debby Phillips

    My purse was stolen out of my car a little over a week ago and I felt violated. I can’t imagine someone coming in to my home and looking through my drawers. Do you have an alarm? If not, are you planning on getting one?

  50. Nancy

    I have been in your shoes — but not with a child which, I think, would just make the awful feelings worse.

    My house was broken into and when the miscreants couldn’t find sufficient money (all I had was saved pennies), jewelry (nothing of value) or drugs (does Advil count?) they settled on trashing the place and taking everything out of the refrigerator and freezer.

    It is the worst. feeling. ever. It takes a while to return to Normalville. Just be patient with yourself.

  51. Teresa D

    Looks like you’ve gotten lots of supportive feedback, but just had to leave mine as well since the same thing happened to me in Oakland just 2 weeks ago. Sympathize completely, including w/ your feelings about wanting to give your whole apartment a shower…my house hasn’t been this clean in months! I was lucky, an alert neighbor called police & not much was taken. But the place was a mess & I wish my neighbor hadn’t even told me about seeing them in my living room pulling my drapes closed – ugh..that’s MY living room & I don’t need to imagine some thug standing in it every time I walk in! The dog wasn’t home at the time, but I’m glad he’s there w/ me now! Hang in there.

  52. Danialle

    Oh god. We were robbed a couple years ago. Ther were handprints on the windows in the dust where they tried every window. For over a year I thought I’d come home to someone standing in our house. It’s REALLY creepy. My only advice, allow yourself some compassion. And do something to reclaim the space, like maybe a dog or putting marbles on the floor. :) Hang in there.

  53. Aurora

    I was burgled a few years ago, and was so very upset. I didn’t even realize that things had been taken until a few days later. There had been workers in my apartment while I was gone and I thought they had just made a huge mess unnecessarily. Only later did I see that my laptop bag was gone and start putting it all together. The thing that really boils my blood is the fact that the laptop was 7 years old, basically worth nothing by then, but it had tons of pictures, music, and personal writing tidbits on it.
    So unfair that there’s just… so little you can do about it. It’s all about just trying to take a deep breath, move on, and realize that stuff is just stuff.

  54. elayne

    I’m so very sorry to hear about this. What an awful thing for you to experience. Hope you can reclaim your sense of security soon.

    Seconding all the other advice to go ahead and get a dog. I have a smallish terrier mix, adopted from a rescue society; I don’t think she’d ever attack anyone unless she (or my son or I) was attacked first, but she will definitely make you THINK that she’s going to attack. And – probably related to whatever led her to be at the rescue society – she does not like men. I have to kennel her whenever I have male workers here, and I always wait until they arrive to do it, then let her bark for a few minutes, apologize, put her up, and say, “I hope she doesn’t remember that the latch is broken.” She’s even run solicitors off.

    So, it doesn’t have to be a huge mean dog – a smaller, loud and indignant dog works just fine too. But if you do consider a large dog, Rottweiler is actually one of the best breeds for families with children IF you are certain that you’re getting a dog that’s been properly socialized. They are NOT the monsters people like to make them out to be (ditto pit bulls – with the same disclaimer. It only takes a little bit of screwed-up-ness to mess up their socialization, so raising one from a pup is best). Our local shelter, aamof, won’t let Cocker spaniels or Cocker mixes be adopted to anyone with a child younger than 6, because despite their “Lady and the Tramp” image of docility and sweetness, they’re really one of the worst breeds – statistically – to mix with kids. So don’t be afraid to get a big dog, just be SURE that you know its history and socialization.

  55. Beth

    I’ve had my car broken in to a couple of times (while it was parked in our driveway) and I can relate to the general feeling of violation. I”m a teacher and they took my book bag and then when they realized there were only BOOKS in the bag they dumped it about a mile from our house. I got it back – full of pill-bugs. I’m so sorry for you, but glad that you weren’t in the house at the time. Hang tough kiddo!

  56. Ellis

    This is my first time visiting your blog and I just wanted to say I’m sorry. Knowing some complete stranger has been through your private possessions is infuriating and unsettling, I know. Fingers crossed this creep gets caught, for this crime or the (inevitable) future one.

  57. sarah

    i’m so sorry maggie. i saw your twitter a couple days ago & my heart sank. i’ve had you and your family in my thoughts the past couple of days. my wish is that things will normalize for you as soon as possible. i can’t even imagine what that must feel like to be invaded. sending you & your family well wishes.

  58. catherine

    christ. robbery has always been the crime I worry about the least, or imagine happening the least (rape and drive-by shootings are #1 and 2)…that’s disgusting, the whole stranger in home touching your things. Not so sure about the whole “get a dog” though…only because the kind of dog you’d want for a loved family pet (like ours) is sadly pretty useless in the face of danger – would most likely beat robber with tail while greeting him/her. (like ours). I wish you better days ahead. :)

  59. Adrienne

    Gah, what is it about August??? August 14th, two years ago, I’m driving home from the worst possible day (“Adrienne,” says PhD advisor, “I’m having doubts about your degree…”) when my husband (then boyfriend) calls.

    “Honey? Did you do something to the entertainment center?”
    “Like what?”
    “Like move the VCR somewhere? And the DVD player?” (I can hear him walking around during this exchange.) “And the Playstation? And… uh… all 250 of our DVDs…?”

    Worst part? They stole our trash cans. TRASH CANS. To carry our stuff away in the least obvious way possible. Also, in broad daylight. I feel for you. Thank god for insurance.

  60. Betsy

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. I don’t know you, but you & your family seem like such nice people–I’m glad to hear you are all safe. I hope the “yuck” diminishes over time.

  61. Min

    I am sorry that this happened to you. I hope you can feel safe soon. Wishing very bad Karma on those who stole from you.

  62. AnEmily

    That IS mighty sucky. Wishing you a speedy insurance check and hoping the ooky feeling goes away soon too.

  63. Devon

    I am a habitual lurker on your lovely, lovely site, Maggie, but I don’t think I have really ever commented before.

    I would just like to tell you how sorry I am this happened to you! It must be terrifying that the “badies” got in. I’m sending you all my love to help shower your home :)

    Feel better!

  64. Bookratt

    Get: A wireless security system w/battery backup for apartment dwellers, which you can take with you when you leave. I highly recommend them.

    Do: Give a call to a cleaning service, to have them come literally clean up for you

    Then: Cleanse the place by incense-ing the heck out of the place, and have a fire-in-a-wastebasket party, where you write down what p.o.’s you about about what happened, your fears, your anger, on bits of paper and burn them.

    Also? Alcohol helps.

  65. Heather

    That really sucks and I know just how you feel. I was burglarized last year and although I had insurance and everything was replaced and no one was home (so no one was hurt), it was so traumatic and I felt so violated. In fact, I couldn’t stay another day in the house, so I moved out immediately instead of a month later, as I’d originally planned. So, yeah, definitely need to do some cleansing to get all that bad energy out of your house.

  66. bushra

    oh, how awful, having watched hank grow up via flickr one can’t help but grow fond of him, and i am glad you are all safe. i wonder if you have a wish list, where well-wishers can send you a little something to cheer you up?

  67. Matthew

    Maggie, when I saw your Tweet, I was so sad for you. I also knew what’s really important to you a burglar wouldn’t want so that made me feel better.

    I hope things return to normal soon. Maybe give some change to a homeless person today to try and kick start some good karma!

  68. Mareshia

    Wow, I just had my bike stolen and felt completely violated because my companion of 5 years was gone. Your home? What a blow. I hate condolences about these things. You never feel good about your stuff being gone. Why can’t thieves steal the bag of clothes you didn’t have time to take to the salvation army?

  69. Miranda

    So sorry to hear about this! Such a terrible feeling. Someone broke into our house a few years ago, but to their dismay, were welcomed by our 140 lb. Great Dane. They left quickly but the feeling that someone was in your house is so awful. I’m sorry they got some of the things (and left their bad vibes) in your home but am glad that you and your family are safe.

  70. Dave

    Well THAT sucks, sorry to hear it. I stop by once every 6 months and it seems like it’s life-changing moments every time. Having also been broken into, I may know a shade of what you’re probably feeling. Me, I tried to put on a brave face and held down the “HE WAS IN YOUR HOUSE!” screams that were welling up in my head.

    Oh, and to help you have nightmares: he might STILL be hiding right behind the door! ;-)

    Take care and best to the fam!

  71. Nikki

    I’m so sorry that this happened to you. Our home was broken into a few years ago, and although we felt lucky (dogs were safe, no one else was home) it still felt pretty weird. I can only imagine how much harder it would be now that we have a baby (close to your little man’s age, actually). But we did feel better sooner that I would have expected. I bet you will too. Best wishes.

  72. Michelle

    I’ve been away awhile….so sorry to see this post! Hope you can regain some sense of security. If not, there’s always moving to Canada… ;)

  73. andrea

    I’ve been away and just catching up. I’m so sorry to hear about this. I can only imagine how violated you must feel. I hope things look up.

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