Rosie and I spent a few days away from home this weekend. When we arrived home and walked into the house last night, most of our electronics were out of place. Components were detached from cables, games and movies were mixed up and thrown into places we never put them, and an XBOX 360 was sitting in the middle of the room. Our sliding glass door was slightly open, and a very strange note was on the floor:
We called up the Spanish Fork Police Department, and an officer came over to survey the situation. The suspect entered through our front window, pulled out the screen and forced the front window open…bending the track of the window and breaking the lock. Once they had the loot, the unlocked the sliding door, which gave them access to come back and take more, or just “borrow” our stuff for a while. The officer told me that we are not the only ones in the neighborhood who’ve had this happen recently, and the written plan is consistent with the other thefts that have happened nearby. The note details the masterplan of the heist, and it was obvious that the theft was pulled off by kids. Looking closely at the XBOX 360, we realized it wasn’t our console. It was an older XBOX version that had the “red ring of death,” and the input for the power cord was bent.
After working with SFPD, and putting a few facts together, I was pretty sure who did it. Rosie remembered that a neighbor boy who occasionally came to our house liked to play games with her, because his XBOX was broken. I’d had previous uneasy feelings about this boy, and he only came over to play video games. I knew his home situation was rough, with several older and younger siblings. His mom works at McDonalds, and would give her kids free food coupons to pass out at school. He has scars on his face from a brother splashing hot cooking oil on him, and he often wanders around the neighborhood alone without a winter coat.
I decided to take the broken XBOX over to the suspected boy’s home and confront his mother. She doesn’t speak English very well, and I could tell that her kids were twisting my words when they translated for her. After an hour of several kids denying facts, explaining how it couldn’t possibly be their 8-year old brother to write out the note, the truth came out when we plugged in the 2 XBOX consoles. The beat up one we brought over immediately glowed the “red ring of death,” which requires the console to be mailed to Microsoft for repair. The console the kids brought up from the basement had all gamer tag information recently swiped off of it, but it was undoubtedly ours. The mother realized that her kids had our XBOX, but wanted to talk to her kids privately and get back to me.
About 30 minutes later, two of the teenage siblings showed up at our door (with no coats on.) The mother wanted me to come back over and talk with her. A large pile of our missing items sat upon their kitchen counter, including HD cables, games, wireless controllers, and our Game Cube. She made her kids apologize to me, and say that they’d never do it again. Most of our items were recovered at their house last night, but we are still missing about $100 of games, controllers, and movies. The mom was mortified that her kids pulled off the heist, and that so many of them were involved.
Rosie is not taking the whole situation well. She thought this kid was her friend, and feels so betrayed. I am angry that the kids did not come clean immediately, and that they didn’t return all of our missing items. I feel bad for the mother, as she realized that her kids worked together to break into a house, steal things, and repeatedly lied to her that they didn’t do it. I know their family is struggling financially, and the mother looked to be at the end of her rope when she opened the door (before having any idea about the theft). We had a hard time communicating due to the language barrier, and her kids changed my words when they translated our conversation. I think that between the police department and our renters policy, we’ll be able to recover our missing items. I just hate the negative and violated emotions that a situation like this evokes.