I called my friend Fred on Thursday morning, for no particular reason. I found him in a bad mood. I knew this because he said, “You’ve found me in a bad mood.”
He told me that someone had broken into his car last night and gotten his wallet. They did not break any windows, which means he must have left it unlocked, although he didn’t admit it. “I don’t know how they got in it.”
“Probably by opening the door,” I offered.
He said the wallet was in his console, and when he opened the door and sat in his seat he got a sense that something was not quite right. In the wallet was his drivers license, a couple of credit cards and $580 in cash. Jackpot for some early morning thief.
“I hate thieves,” he told me.
“Me too,” I agreed.
He called the credit card companies and found they’d used one of them to get gas. Then they went to Burger King, who would not take the card. “But Rally’s took it,” he said. “I hate Rally’s.”
I told him at least they didn’t bust one of the windows in his car. That was what happened to my son Matt a few times when he was in high school, until I told him to stop locking the doors because replacing the broken window in his Jeep cost me $200…twice.
Fred was staying over at his fiancé’s house where the break-in occurred. She has a Cairn Terrier whose name is Tugboat.
“Thanks a lot Tugboat!” Fred said.
It seemed coincidental to me that when our house was robbed about 10 years ago, it was also left under the protection of our Cairn Terrier, Gus.
We had arrived home after work that summer day to find our garage door open, and the door to the kitchen from the garage, also open. Out came Gus, wagging his tail, as if to say, “Not to worry, my food dish is safe.”
The next day we were at lunch when I got a call from a motel in the southwest part of the city. The lady calling said one of the maids had found some of my checks in one of the rooms. I already had a detective assigned to the case who I was meeting later at our house so he could lift some fingerprints. I called him to give him this new development in the case. I was certain, if he moved quickly, I’d have my stolen property back by the end of the day. He reminded me not to have high expectations about getting my stuff back, which included, among other things, a diamond heart necklace Mom had given KM, about 100 liberty quarters and half dollars that my grandfather gave me, and my new chain saw.
The detective was right, I never got any of it back, which I had trouble accepting considering they arrested three people two days after he got the fingerprints. He came out to our house and showed me their photos. One was a skinny guy who looked like he’d tried every drug ever invented. The next, an angry looking girl who looked about 20, and the third, and leader of the gang the detective told me, a clean cut preppie, who I imagined sounded like Eddie Haskell.
My detective told me they’d be in jail less than a week most likely, because there wasn’t enough room to keep the non-violent criminals locked up.
“Then what?” I asked.
“Then? Well, then they go out and do it again.”
“Do they ever come back and rob the same houses again?”
“Oh sure,” he said. “They often do that.”
The result was a new security system, installed mainly so KM and I could get a good night’s sleep.
As for Gus, he slept just fine until he was called home to Heaven. Tugboat is still around, which is no comfort at night for Fred.