Monday, May 31, 2010
A Close Encounter of the Kind you Don’t Want to Have…….
Gotta call it something, so I went with this title, 'cause I can't think of a one word description for the kind of encounter that would read like the movie title.
Well, we had our first encounter with a local Ladrone this morning at about 3:30. I heard a sound like metal hitting metal, like maybe the LPG tanks outside (we have two 100 lb. tanks for cooking), or maybe like the sound effects of sonar from one of those exciting undersea adventures, a la "The Hunt For Red October." So, I got up, and walked into the living room, where I noticed a dark corner of the front window (not normally present).
I went to the front door, threw it open, and turned on the light. That was when I noticed the screen door, on the right (the side of the house that parallels the road) was open. I yelled, "Hey!" and looked around the corner. Of course, by this time, whoever it was had left in a hurry, most likely running up the little road. I surmise that they fled up the road, because almost at once, the neighbor's dogs started barking, up the road. Then, I noticed the spare car jack was placed inside the metal window guard, where it had been used to try to pop the welds, and so gain access to the window.
Obviously, the sound I had heard was the strain of the metal, as he turned the jack in between bars. The good news is that he made too much noise, and woke me, so he only took one item. The bad news is that he cut the screen on that side door, to gain access to that door's lock, and he cut the screen on the front window, along with popping at least one weld, and bending a couple of the bars. Oh, and of course, he woke us up at 3:30 am!
We called the cops. Wait, that's not true. The cops didn't answer the phone number they had given us, so Blanca called Leti, Tulio's wife. She then called the cops in Tilaran, rather than the local number. Four of them showed up within about thirty minutes, one with what looked like a M-16, another with a small carbine, one with a big-assed flashlight, and the fourth, pretty much empty-handed. One of them we already knew, from a previous visit they had made to solicit a contribution to their building fund (that's another story, and if I haven't reported it, I will), and we welcomed them.
The guys with the weapons couldn't seem to stop messing with them, taking out the magazine, and replacing it, and clicking the safeties on and off. Three of them took a Coke, and basically they took our identifying information, and asked if anything seemed to be missing. We did not, at the time, see anything missing, so they discussed the situation among themselves, and with us. They wanted to know if I have a weapon, and of course, I do not, as I have been told that 'estranjeros' (strangers/foreigners) cannot – any longer - legally own a weapon here. We hadn't seen anything, and we didn't hear any motors, so the speculation is that the thief ran up to the road where they believe he had parked a car. They had seen two cars on the road on their way from Tilaran, and taken the license numbers of both. They speculated that our thief was driving one of the cars, and they think they know which one, since they associate it with a known thief.
They reassured us that he would not return the rest of the night, but he would likely be back at some point in time, to try again. So, we need to look more closely at our security, such as it is. I did notice a burned out light bulb in the fixture right over the door that the creep had used to enter the front porch, so that's an obvious fix. Of course, we need to get the screens replaced, and see if we can get the popped weld redone, and the bars straightened.
I guess this might soil that 'pura vida' vibe just a bit, but I'm not sure. I have certainly been aware for a long, long time that burglary is common here, and frankly, I'm just glad we haven't been hit before, and that nothing really important was taken or damaged this time. Hopefully, with some extra precautions here and there, we can prevent a recurrence of this event, and/or protect ourselves against anything worse happening.
Oh, the one thing that was taken? Go figure. We had these two pottery type wall hanging things, representing the sun and the moon that Blanca bought in Mexico some years ago. They used to be painted kind of an earth tone color when we had them hanging on outside walls in El Paso and in Farmers Branch. But, just a couple of weeks ago, we decided they needed to be brightened up a bit, so Blanca painted the sun a bright yellow, and the moon a royal blue. They hung just inside the screen door, on the front wall of the house, just as you entered the door. This morning, after we had gotten up the second time, Blanca noticed they were gone. She then saw the moon laying on the ground, just outside the barbed wire fence, face up, but there is no sign of the sun. I checked the road, going up to the highway this morning, when I took up the garbage, but saw no sign of it. So, I have to conclude that this sneak in the night needed something to remind him of his bravery. Oh, he did leave something in trade, though! We found one of those knit caps lying on the floor of the porch. You know the kind, similar to the old Navy watch caps, but smaller, like what the 'gangstas' wear in the hip-hop, rap crap videos (the style that, for some strange reason, they now call beanies). I would speculate that he realized that such a cap is not exactly de rigueur, or appropriate head gear in this climate, especially if one is exerting oneself trying to force entry into a private domicile. What do you think?