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Dos Factotum » Archive » The Bothersome Amateur Burglar

The Bothersome Amateur Burglar

July 20th, 2008

I came home from work Friday to find our apartment’s door two inches off the door jam. Both the door and the jam had been splintered as if someone had struck them with a small ax. I took out my key and tried to open the door, but it wouldn’t catch in the lock. “We’ve been robbed,” I thought. I figured there was a chance the thief was still in there, rifling through our shit in a state of profound disappointment, so I went outside.

I called McShane, my roommate, to see if he was inside being held hostage or molested or whatever. He was still at work. As I thought about calling 9-1-1, a cop car drove by and I flagged it down.

“Hi,” I said. “I just got home and I think someone may have broken into my place.”

“Ah,” Officer Donnelly said. I don’t remember the name on the other, fatter cop’s name tag.

“And they could still be inside,” I added.

“Right,” Other, Fatter Cop said.

They walked up to the door that had been fucked with, unholstered their hand guns and told me to stand back. They tried to open the door, but it wouldn’t budge. They knocked. No one answered. Officer Donnelly said that someone definitely tried to break in.

“But he never got in your place,” Other, Fatter Cop said. “I’m certain.”

He went on: “Those guys are like wild animals. They mess everything up. They’ll steal your TV and eat all your chicken. But this guy, he must’ve been an amateur. Any pro could get inside, no problem.”

Oh, most definitely. That is, if he’s smart enough to consider entering via the apartment’s other door. The door that goes into McShane’s room doesn’t even have a proper lock, just a $3 plastic door knob that happens to lock. An angry dog could probably bust it down. The kitchen door, the one the amateur burglar worked on, has a deadbolt, but it’s still pretty weak. We’ve theorized that the burglar was startled by a resident walking down the stairs or coming in through the building’s front door (which doesn’t lock, ever) and left before he could get in and steal our shit, all of which, including the TV, has a combined street value of maybe $600, excluding a nice camera I’m borrowing from a friend. (Don’t worry, Rhys. Your baby was untouched.)

The cops told me to get a steel door, and then left. I called McShane with the update. He had to work late, and I don’t have a key to his door, so I was locked out. At 7:30 p.m., it was uncomfortably hot out, even in the hallway. Although the burglar hadn’t taken anything, he’d still greatly inconvenienced me and ruined my early evening. So, fuck you, sir or ma’am. I’d planned on dropping off laundry and, heck, maybe even watching Jeopardy! while sucking down a flavored ice pop or three. Instead, I went to Sweet Ups for buy-one-get-one happy hour and wrote up my Hotel Gansevoort article until my laptop’s battery died. Then I went to McDonald’s and ate some fries. Then I went back home and sat on the steps out front that I like to call “the porch.”

A few people from a neighbor’s party were smoking on the porch. They’d seen me walking in and out of the building for the past hour and a half, so they asked if I was locked out.

“Yeah. Someone tried to rob us and the lock got messed up,” I said.

They said something like “that sucks” and handed me a cold Stella. David, one of the neighbors, asked to see the door, and I obliged him.

“Yeah,” he said, examining it. “They never got in your place.”

“That’s what the cops said,” I said.

“The cops were here? Did they try to open the door for you?”

“Yeah, but they couldn’t.”

“I bet I could,” David said. He’s built like a fullback, so I was rather hopeful.

He took a step a back and then hurled his body against the door. It swung open. The deadbolt fell to the floor.

“Thanks,” I said.

By this time, it was around 9:30. I’d wasted almost two and a half hours. I was very bothered.

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