Home Invasion: How I Survived Our First Break-In of the Modern Era
Home invasion can be scary, especially in the modern era wherein you don’t just suffer material loss — you also suffer the possibility of future losses, up to and including identity theft.
My 23-year-old son gave the once-over to my security update on our back door — new lock, hotel-latch and a metal bar that slid over the door and frame. “Are you expecting them to come back with a battering ram?” he asked sarcastically.
“If they do, this time, we’re ready,” I said.
Merry Christmas. On Dec. 18, sometime between 12:30 a.m. and 4 a.m., while we were sleeping, a person or persons unknown successfully worked the lock on our back door. I assume they moved quickly in the dark. Most of what they would take was sitting in a tray on our coffee table. Our wallets, our iPhones, my wife’s laptop from a nearby table. And my car keys.
On their way out, they passed by a liquor cabinet of collectible whiskeys and only took a bottle of cheap vodka. Barbarians.
In a previous home, 30 years earlier, the only other break-in we’d experienced saw our belongings turned upside down. This time, the intruders’ presence wasn’t immediately detectable. I got up, made coffee and a bit of breakfast, grabbed my work laptop (which miraculously had gone unnoticed on a shelf below the table) and started typing.
Suddenly, I heard Bianca’s voice from upstairs. “Jim, where’s our car?”
Had I been awake and had I physically confronted the intruders, by definition, it would have been a home invasion. As it is, it remains a break-in, the creep factor aside. There were 6,877 break-ins in Toronto in 2017, and 3,526 car thefts (85,000 nationwide). Our deep sleep was probably a good thing. Anybody brazen enough to break into a house with people in it is probably prepared for a confrontation and possibly armed.
I’m inclined to call this our first break-in of the modern era, wherein you don’t just suffer a loss, you suffer the possibility of future losses, up to and including identity theft. Smartphone, wallet and car is kind of a perfect storm.
Shock would take a while to sink in, given all the details that took up almost every day of the Christmas season. Cops first, then Visa, then our cellphone provider, change the locks because now they had our keys, cancel and replace our department store cards, call the bank to deactivate our ATM cards, Air Miles, Aeroplan, Optimum Card, new temporary licenses and health cards, changed PINs on various phone apps that connected to our credit cards, apply for credit checks and on and on.
People would say things like, “Your new card will be at the bank. Just show them three pieces of ID.” Uh, maybe you weren’t listening to what was taken from me.