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We came to work on Monday morning to find a huge surprise: Someone had drilled out the office building door lock, broke into two offices (mine and my husband’s) and proceeded to rob us.

I think of us as nice people who follow rules and I expect others to do the same. We’ve never been invaded in this way, and never thought it could ever happen to us. Our office doesn’t have an alarm system nor does it have video cameras. After all, who would rob us?

Several fortunate turns of events came into play. One, no one was there. Although the incident occurred late on Sunday, I worked during the day and was undisturbed. My husband suffers from periodic insomnia and often gets up in the middle of the night to go to work. It’s easy enough to do; we live a mile away. He was up all night, but decided to watch a program on 9-11 instead. Who knows what might have happened had he been bitten by the bug to do some filing at 2 a.m. and had come upon the B & E guys red handed.

The thieves broke into my husband’s desk and took some money. They ruined four doors. Someone sat at my desk and dragged out my personal effects, cards, letters and postcards, and took a look. It could have been worse. There were customer charges and checks that were left behind, along with almost a dozen computers, TVs and DVD players, cell phones, and a few other goodies out in plain sight. Our tenant’s office was also undisturbed.

The Royal Oak Police were called. The officers didn’t have far to go; they were eating breakfast at the restaurant next door. They noted phone numbers, took a look around and told us to get an inventory together of what was taken. No fingerprints were taken. Real Life isn’t like CSI, unless someone dies.

Now that the shock and dismay has faded (a little), we have taken stock of the situation.

For one thing, we always believed Royal Oak was a safe haven. It’s a friendly place with a small town feel, hardly ostentatious. However, these are desperate times. I read the local paper. Robberies are on the rise. My next-door neighbor’s house was broken into, in broad daylight and only minutes after she left with her children to run an errand. It was a smash and grab. Recently some man was gunned down two miles north, shot and robbed in his driveway as he was leaving for work.

It used to be so idyllic when all we had to worry about was an occasional lifting of a hubcap from a car in the parking lot. Or when the homeless couple came in to wash up in our bathroom and helped themselves to empty pop cans. Or when smart-assed kids thought they could steal tests out of the instructor’s desk.

As we analyzed our crime, we realized the deeper implications of our loss. This crime was committed by someone who knows us – either an employee, a disgruntled ex-employee or someone who knows one. Only my office and my husband’s office were targeted. Obviously, whoever it was thought the bulk of the goodies were housed in these two places.

It’s been a couple of days and routines have been resumed, but things will never be the same again. If my husband gets the urge for a late-night trip to catch up on work, he’ll carry his gun. The doors have been re-keyed and the damage repaired. We’re getting quotes on alarm services and security systems.

If there’s a next time, they won’t get far.

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About Joanne Huspek

I write. I read. I garden. I cook. I eat. And I love to talk about all of the above.
  • science and math

    Nice to know no one was hurt and police busted them.

  • Concealed weapons permits are getting very popular. Hope you never need one.
    Glad y’all are safe.

  • I can only imagine how violated you must have felt. Just be thankful that no one was hurt. Items can be replaced – people can’t.

    Glad you are safe.

  • Ruvy

    I’m sorry you got drilled, though. Glad, nobody got hurt, Joanne,

  • Ruvy

    I remember coming home to a burgled apartment in 1979. I checked the mail that day, and a letter came in the mail offering to waitlist me at Hamline U. School of Law in St. Paul. I couldn’t wait to get out. I did the paperwork and got the hell out of Brooklyn. I got admitted to Hamline.

    Sometimes a robbery can push you in a direction you never expect. That is what happened to me. We did not bother to call the cops. Where we lived was mob territory. Sometimes, cops in NY can be damned nice. Most of the time, they are worse than useless.

  • the crooks probably went after you because you had a business. no personal effects taken? This suggests a stranger.