It only took 30 years.
That’s how long I’ve been living in my home. That’s how long I’ve lived in Bartlett.
In that time my wife and I have raised four children and several dogs. We’ve survived countless storms and straight-line winds. Our house burned and was then rebuilt. Three decades of love, laughter, a few tears and one or two real faith-testers.
My family remains on our feet, thank you very much.
So imagine my surprise when, this past Mother’s Day, I discovered I had been burgled. In broad daylight, while I was home.
My fault, I guess. My garage door was open while I waited for my daughter to arrive for a Mother’s Day cookout with her and two of my grandchildren. I was at my computer and heard a noise in the garage.
Oh good, I said to myself. Lisa must be here.
After a couple of minutes I began wondering what was taking her so long to come in. When I went to check on her there was no sign of her or her van. Wonder what I heard? I shrugged it off and went back to my computer.
A while later I was puttering around in the garage when I noticed that my weed trimmer wasn’t in the spot where it was supposed to be. Strange, I thought. Wonder where it is? Then, to my horror, I realized I was standing in a newly made empty space my beloved generator used to occupy.
The missing weed trimmer was an annoyance. I got like five good seasons out of it. That’s more than most pro ball players last.
The generator, however, was a different story. That hurt. That was a gift from my brother-in-law.
It was used and I’d spent hours cleaning it from top to bottom, then re-painting it. It looked brand new when I was done and was my pride and joy. I ran it every other week or so and it purred like a kitten. The sad part? In the two years or so that I had it, I never got to use it.
It took a minute for the reality of what had happened to sink in. My space – my personal space – had been violated. My property had been stolen.
I called Bartlett PD and a very sympathetic officer came out and made a report. Although I was already aware of it, he told me there’d been a rash of these types of burglaries. He advised me to keep my door closed at all times and to check Craig’s List in case my generator might show up for sale.
Whoever did this had guts, I’ll give them that. My car was in the garage and the kitchen door was open. It was a quick snatch-and-go. They took a real chance and somehow got away without anyone seeing them. My gut tells me it was kids, hired by an adult, lured into crime with the promise of easy money should they be successful.
This time they got away with it. It’s almost a certainty that, sooner or later, they’ll be caught. And I sincerely hope they’re discovered by law enforcement and not an angry, armed homeowner.
The fact that it happened on Mother’s Day seemed significant to me. Whoever did this was someone’s son or sons. There was a mom somewhere who likely had no idea what her child was doing. And I wrote on Facebook that I hope these criminals needed the few dollars they’ll get for this to buy medicine or food. If that’s the case, I’m happy to have helped. Otherwise, I hope they’re caught and sent to prison.
Does that sound bitter? Yeah, I guess it does. Honest, but bitter.
Still, in 30 years, this was the first incident of what little crime there is in Bartlett that has affected me personally. And no one was harmed, physically, in the process. That’s a good thing. And once I accepted that it happened, I shook it off and had a wonderful Mother’s Day cookout with my wife, daughter and two incredible grandchildren, the silver lining that cannot be denied.
Material possessions can be replaced. No one pointed a gun at me or my family.
And my belief that Bartlett is one of the safest cities on the planet is undiminished.
Of course, I further believe, now that I don’t own a generator, the next storm that rolls through Bartlett will knock out my power for several days.
Of course, perhaps the prison where the perps will soon be living will also lose power.
Okay. I’m still a tad bitter.
Contact Rick Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org.