Sunday, January 29, 2006

Home Alone

It's rather surprising it took this long. In our building, the basement has been under renovation for the full two years we've lived here. The landladies want to turn it into an apartment like the other floors, and then to sell the building as a whole. (The potential buyer we met would continue to rent out the apartments.)

The basement though has many windows, not all with functional locks, not very secure at all. And there's a stairway coming up to our apartment. You see where this is going... The top opening of the stairway has been shut over with drywall.

So today at about 9:40 p.m., I am watching Grey's Anatomy. I was looking forward to the show; I like it. (Nem says nurses take issue with it...) Then I hear some rather large pounding noises, and what sounds like tape ripping. I think NJ is doing something stupid, so I get up to yell at him. As I walk into the hall, by the stairway, I see two unknown arms peering out of the drywall. The arms are uncovered of a medium complexion. As I approach, they recede back into the dark stairwell. It would seem a young man climbed through an open window in the basement, climbed the stairs, and punched through our drywall. One must assume an opportunistic burglary would've ensued had the TV not been quite so loud. :)

I get NJ out in the hall, and he calls the UC police. They say to also call the CPD, so he does. Then he calls the landladies. The UC police show up first, and fast. There are three of them, one in plain clothes. One officer said he was at 55th and Cottage Grove, so it only took 5 minutes or so. The plain-clothed detective heard the report of "arms coming through the wall" and decided he just had to see this. All are very cheery. They go down to the basement and look around, with flashlights and guns drawn. (I must say it's a little bit scary to be 3 feet behind a guy holding a gun at his side, poised for whatever. I was going to tell them where the stairway is, but I decide to go back upstairs.) They are very helpful, and tell us we should hound the landlords, and tell us how to shore up the hole for the short term. They seem to believe that the intruder is a crack addict. After we all share some banter and amazement, all but one leaves. He fills out the report, with my help. He tells us a summary of the report will be available on Wednesday. He again is very nice and cheery. In the middle of this process, two of the landladies come, and they bring the contractors who are rehabilitating the basement. They nail windows shut, and generally secure the basement. This seems to be a weird occurrence to everyone. The officer tells us this may be the weirdest attempted burglary he's seen.

The UC officer tells us upon leaving that we should call CPD again. Apparently both departments really do need reports. An hour or so later, the CPD officer shows up. He is unaided, and seems green. He writes his report rather laconically, but warms up after a bit. He finishes after some time, and tells us that an evidence technician may come take photographs of the hole. The CPD report will be available in about 6 weeks.

It seems the evidence technician will not come. The contractors will fix the hole in the drywall tomorrow. Everyone's acting a bit crazy though. I would've been the one to greet the fellow had he not second-guessed his brilliant idea. It seems reasonable enough. But I guess I've had enough things stolen in my lifetime. I also used to have dreams where I walked around late at night, and saw a burglar out on the roof. (I lived on the second floor over the garage, and I could see the roof over most of the first floor out the window.) Quite scary dreams actually... But really now.