Desperately Seeking Gladys Kravitz

Late Tuesday afternoon we received an email from the HOA.  The message in the email told us that there had been 4 burglaries in the past 10 days in one part of our large subdivision.

Even though the break-ins are miles from where we live, the HOA asked that all residents turn on their outdoor lights at night.  This is because the burglaries happened in the middle of night while families were at home, asleep upstairs.

[I’ll wait here while what I just wrote sinks into your brain.  At home. Asleep. While having your house burgled. YIKES!]

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First of all let me tell you that we are a cooperative bunch of suburbanites when under attack.  To wit, the last few nights our part of the subdivision has been so well-lit that pilots would feel comfortable landing their planes on our streets.

[So that’s a good thing.  For us.  And for Duke Energy, as well.  *sigh*]

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And secondly, while I’m not thrilled with these latest developments, they do underscore the need for everyone who lives around here to be more aware of everyone & everything that goes on around here.  That is to say, it’s time for you, my lovely neighbors, to look up from your smart phones and actually interact with your environment.

You know, like we did in the dark ages when phones with cords plugged into walls.  And neighbors said “hello” to each other when they met on the street.  And burglars knew that somewhere in every neighborhood was a nosy, noisy Gladys Kravitz who saw everything.

[Oddly enough, that’s who we need around here.  Her prying eyes would be most helpful right about now, don’t you think?] 

# # #

BREAKING NEWS:

It’s 10:00 a.m. Friday morning and we just received this email update from our HOA:

“… we learned that there was another burglary attempt around 3am this morning at XXXX Drive. The police spotted the intruders before they were able to enter the home. The accomplice was caught, but the other burglar was able to get away.”

Now how long until the accomplice turns on the other burglar?

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted most days.

34 thoughts on “Desperately Seeking Gladys Kravitz”

  1. That’s very scary! Burglars are not usually that stupid – or at least I don’t often hear about them breaking in when someone is at home. Take care of yourselves but try not to get too paranoid. That’s not a great way to live either.

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    1. Zazzy, I know. This is different from the usual break-in m.o. We’re shutting all our downstairs blinds and drapes before we go to bed, figuring that is one more layer of security. But really, not happy about this.

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  2. I don’t blame you for being a little paranoid. Things like that just make me so angry! When I was in college, my room mate and I were broken into over spring break, so gladly we weren’t there. But I wish I could have confronted the person/people!! Be careful and stay safe. I hope the police capture the other guy.

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    1. Beth, in the course of my life I’ve been through 3 situations involving a break-in, but each of them took place when no one was at home. This is different because these criminals are bolder– and perhaps, more desperate? Will update as the story unfolds.

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  3. Every summer we go through it. People become more casual and outdoorsy, and a quick pop over across the street to the neighbor;s, or an afternoon on the back patio while leaving the front door open is an invitation to desperate people. Sadly, in one interview with a local officer, he said that it is always, in his experience, driven by a need for money for drugs. The thieves grab electronics and purses, mostly. They’re easy to convert to cash, either by legal or illegal means. Sad, as I said, but there it is.

    We have lots of Gladys Kravitzes in our ‘hood, even, but yes, people need to be out, be aware, and be NEIGHBOURS.

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    1. nance, you’ve described the problem that’s going on around here. Open doors and windows. Purses/computers left on kitchen counters in plain sight. It’s the first time that this subdivision has had anything like this happen.

      Whether or not this increases neighborliness, remains to be seen. My guess is that everyone will rely on their whole house alarm systems more than the people next door to keep them safe. I anticipate a noisy summer.

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  4. I think everyone needs to be a little bit of a nosy old lady and have their eyes and ears peeled for anything that doesn’t seem right in the neighborhood. It’s easy in a suburban neighborhood to not know who your neighbors are and not know whether or not the people we see walking around during the day are in fact casing the neighborhood to break in at night. And I’m certain that spending our lives tethered to these electronic gizmos isn’t much help…

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    1. John, you said it. I’m not by nature nosy, but considering I don’t have a smart phone [yet] I pay more attention to my environment than most people around here. So I feel pretty safe, but these other neighbors never see anything but the tiny screen in front of them. Then they wonder how things like this happen.

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  5. I live at the end of a cul-de-sac with lots of nosy neighbors and stay at home moms. However, I do have my lights on at night anyway. We have had issues with some of our delinquent teenage boys in the neighborhood though. Now I keep my garage door closed and locked up during the day. I LOVE/HATE electronics. I don’t have a smart phone and am hoping that when I get one, it won’t turn me into the kind of zombies I see around everywhere.

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    1. Margaret, you sound like you’re doing things right. If this were merely delinquent teenage boys, I’d be less on edge about it. But this is more sinister and requires vigilance from our neighbors, a group of smart phone zombies who may not be up to the task. [Great description, my dear.]

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  6. I think that would freak me out. People breaking in whilst people are asleep? Are the homeowners perhaps leaving windows open to catch a night breeze, whereas perhaps during the day they would be locked up tight? My false sense of security comes from my policy of NEVER having downstairs windows open when I’m not downstairs. That goes double for nighttime. I’m not sure I could live in a one story house, because I’m so paranoid about someone coming in a bedroom window while I’m asleep. It seems like 90% of the burglaries, rapes, home invasions happen through open windows. Scary. And when I tell people that I don’t sleep with my downstairs windows open to catch a cross breeze and cool down the house at night, they say, “But you live in a nice town…how bad can it be?” Did they never read “In cold blood”? That was out in the middle of nowhere. There is no safe place, sadly.

    All of this sounds like I’m blaming the victims. I’m not. It a better world, we would all be able to sleep with windows open. Also, if someone REALLY wants to get into your house, they will, locked windows or not. We had one neighbor whose house was robbed maybe 10 years ago, and they kicked in her front door. Luckily she wasn’t home.

    Stay safe my friend! Maybe it’s time to get a dog.

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    1. J, I’m working on not being freaked out by this. But yes, it’s disturbing. However, like you I never leave windows open downstairs when I am [we are] upstairs and that is where the trouble began.

      Neighbors left their window + screen doors open at night, which is foolhardy. I mean, I like cool breezes as much as the next person, but not at the expense of my safety.

      As for a dog, one of the reasons that I am able to be more calm about this is that all around us on all four sides are families with dogs. Friendly to me dogs. Loud to strangers dogs. The best kind of dogs that there are.

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    1. Madison, me too. Of all the stupid problems to drop into my lap, this one is pretty high on the list. *head to desk* Also, thanks for stopping by. Gotta love Susie and her ability to get people to talk with each other. 🙂

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  7. Unless they’re the dumbest criminals on the planet, there’s no way their intent was just to steal while people were home in their beds. Happy to hear they caught at least one of them before anyone was hurt. Stay safe!

    – Meg

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    1. Meg, none of this situation is good. I haven’t heard if the police have caught anyone else yet. But in the meantime we are locked up tight with outside lights shining all around the house. What a way to start summer.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. It is interesting how far apart we have gotten from on another. Neighbors don’t say hi or even know much about one another any more. I think about my own neighbor, who was stunned to find out I had a baby. In her defense, our son does have health issues and doesn’t walk, but she first noticed I had a “baby” when he was three! At times I miss the community of old…even the Gladys types are missed!

    Shannon
    http://www.theothersideoftheequation.com/

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    1. smashintwo, oh I can believe that no one noticed you had a baby until he was that old. I’m not sure if any of our neighbors even know our names– and we actually, occasionally speak with one another. You’re right about missing the community of old. Like I said: where is Gladys when you need her?!!

      Thanks for stopping by to talk.

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    1. Rebecca, I used to be like that. I’d introduce myself and chat with all the new neighbors, but over the years I learned that people around here are pretty closed-off and do not welcome the chance to know someone who isn’t part of their family or work group or social group. Not all cities are friendly. Of this I am sure.

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  9. Yikes, that is scary! I live in a teensy town where you’d think the neighbors would be all up in each other’s business but I’ve found that most of the people who live here moved out of the bigger city 5 miles south of us to get away from “all the people.” (It’s a small city, 50,000 people, and about 4900 here.) My next door neighbor grunted at me the first (and only) time I saw her at the mailbox and said hello, that’s how social most people are around here. So I bet we’d have the same problem if we had a theft problem. But thankfully because it’s a small town we have hardly any crime. 🙂

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    1. Megan, I understand what it’s like to live around people who have no interest in speaking with you. It’s like that here. But in this case that behavior has come back to bite us on the butt. Just one nosy Gladys and the burglars would think twice about breaking in. Or at least, that’s how I figure it.

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    1. Jen, I, too, hope that this guy is caught soon. I’m sleeping better now that I know one of the criminals is behind bars, so for that I am grateful. But talk about a disturbing development… at night… while we sleep. Scary.

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  10. I hope that the other burglar will be caught soon and you can all start breathing easier. A home invasion is scary. We had some car burglaries in our area. As a result, our outside lights have been on at night for more than a year. It’s sad that we have to take these steps just so we can be safe.

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    1. Judy, you and me both. I haven’t heard anything today about whether or not the second burglar has been apprehended. Sooner, rather than later, would work best for me.

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  11. So sorry this is hitting your area. It’s just “normal” for here – has been for some 8-9 years. Where my daughter lived previously, her house was robbed 3 times. Once Christmas Eve and she had just gotten on a plane. Once while she was at work. Once while she was at the grocery store. They took everything each time, beat/maced/stun gunned the German. Luckily she didn’t run away as the doors were left open. Neighbors had similar experiences – and this was in the state’s capital 2 blocks from the big med center. Happens all the time there. Police actually said, just stop buying stuff until you leave. And they showed little interest in apprehending one of them who had her lap top and we had tracker on it so we had pictures of him using it. The cops seem to know who was doing most of the robberies, but shrugged and said too hard. One was rumored to be son of judge/law enforcement. We have no faith in police at this point.
    Robbery is now a career path for some. It’s been a long time since it was safe to open windows or leave doors unlocked if you’re in the back rooms or backyard. We never keep windows open at night.
    In Houston, they are kicking in backdoors/windows after knocking to see if anyone answers. They go in the master bedroom if possible because usually no motion sensors/security cams there. Mostly during day between 9-2. And yes now even when people are home. Kids are hiding in closets calling parents/911 as the robbers roam the house. Another one on news today. Everyday event.
    Where we are, (about 150 houses), last summer there were 15 break-ins in 3 weeks. Day time. It got to where people were afraid to leave the house alone. They stopped when school started. We are hoping they don’t start up again.
    All I can say is alarm systems are useless – the guys are in and out in a matter of minutes. Security video cameras are recommended so you get pictures of them. Some have been caught this way by putting those pix on TV – just a few…Now they are smart to wear long sleeved hoodies, hats, masks – even gloves. Hard see who it is.
    It’s really encouraging to hear this isn’t “normal” for everyone. I hate living this way. Law enforcement can’t seem to do anything. Pawnshops, Ebay(we located one laptop there ), Craig’s List are thieves’ markets. And so many think it’s OK to steal. Sad world.
    Hope your crimes are solved quickly and you can go back to regular life.

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    1. Phil, goodness. What a lousy way to live, knowing that being burglarized is to be expected. I couldn’t do that.

      Around here, this one string of 5 burglaries has been BIG NEWS & will not be tolerated. We have police & sheriffs patrolling our streets now like you wouldn’t believe. Lights are on everywhere, and in miracle of miracles, neighbors are acknowledging one another on the street.

      As they saying goes: If you mess with the [midwestern suburban] bull, you get the [we’ll complain to high heaven until you catch these miscreants] horns.

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      1. That’s very encouraging. It used to be that way here, but things have changed. Society only works when all agree to follow the laws – and many arriving over the past few years either have had no law enforced or had too many offer every excuse under the sun as to why their behavior is not their fault and so they should be let go without blame or punishment.
        Thought of you while watching a thief wander around a 2 story home at night (on video) while one owner slept and another was busy on computer. He went upstairs, left the house and came back – nuts. THose people need to lock windows and doors and get a yappy dog. Pretty scary though.
        I keep telling husband not everywhere is like this – or Little Rock. Glad you guys realize it has to be stopped now and not allow it to seep in

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        1. This is a conservative part of the world and one positive off-shoot of that is: we obey the laws. There are other aspects of this conservative mindset that I don’t find so endearing, but in this case no tolerance works in my favor.

          I’ve never encountered this sort of situation before and appreciate all that you’ve added to the conversation here. Thanks.

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          1. There are so many lawless individuals already here.(And so many high profile ones with fan clubs)
            What can be worse than an additional influx of 14-17 year old males/children who have lived by and in violence all their lives. Who will not respond to the foster care system easily. How are they going to live without English, skills, education, guidance? This young new arrival group will change everything.
            2 years ago a DC research think tank said Houston/TX is how the rest of the country will look in the future. Get ready. It’s not always pretty.
            I do not have any answers, but we will have to find some answers to the growing violence and lawlessness quickly…even if all the immigrants are sent back to their homes…the locals are enough trouble.
            You give me hope. We are looking at what to do next

            FYI Greyhound bus system is pretty busy now
            http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-Texas/2014/06/30/Thousands-of-Illegal-Immigrants-Bused-Across-US

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