How did someone break into my home?
December 6, 2011 11:30 AM Subscribe
How did someone break into my house?
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (40 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm trying to understand the most likely explanation for how someone broke into my house, so that I can try to address the right vulnerabilities. Here's the situation:
House has front door and back door, both with deadbolts. Back door is a glass door with a Hoppe-made two-point lock. Detached city house in Chicago.
Wood gate to alley has cheap deadbolt shielded by metal plates on the gate. You can't see into our house through the glass back door unless you get through this alley gate. The deadbolt on the gate has a keyhole on both sides - meaning, you can't jump the fence and open it from the inside without a key.
I left the house at about 10:30 am Sunday morning. Returned 1:30 pm. The only creature in house was dog - a 65 pound retriever. A cupcake of a dog, but big and strong looking. She barks at people who come to the door.
I am 99% sure I locked the front and back doors. I specifically recall double-checking both of them. There is some small chance I only "halfway" turned the back-door lock, which is sometimes tricky, and which would result in the door not really being locked. There is some small chance I left the gate unlocked three weeks ago when I opened it for leaf raking. We don't use this gate normally - nobody has been through it for weeks.
There is a regular ADT-type security system, but it was off.
While I was out, someone came into my house and stole two laptops that were sitting in plain sight of the back door. The only other thing taken was a small bag - probably for carrying the computers. The house was not disturbed - no drawers open or anything like that. Lots of small steal-able things were elsewhere in the house, but it seems that nobody looked for them. The thief could not have been in the house for more than 5 minutes.
There are no real signs of a forced entry. There is a funny mark on the door jamb in one spot on the back door (a long shallow gouge at the height of the upper bolt on the Hoppe lock), but that might have been there before.
The thief fed the dog a tupperware of leftovers that was in the fridge. This is possibly the strangest part. If you are comfortable walking past the dog when you first come in, why hassle with the food from the fridge?
A few people have had my keys recently - like a painter, baby sitter, and similar. Only one person had the key to back gate, a carpenter who I just can't imagine would do this. (I actually owe him money and have more jobs for him to do.)
The back door was unlocked when I got home. So was the gate to the alley. These seem like the most obvious entry/exit points.
As far as I can tell, there are three possibilities:
(A) Someone who had a copy of my keys did this. But why were they in such a rush? If you had someone's keys and planned something like this, wouldn't you take more stuff? Why would you need to steal a bag to carry to loot? Of course, maybe you make it look rushed to cover up the fact that you know me. Maybe that's why the dog was not an issue also.
(B) I'm an idiot and left the gate and back door unlocked. Someone just happened to be walking around looking for a place to rob on Sunday morning. And that person is not afraid of sneaking into a place with a large (but friendly) dog. This seems tremendously unlikely to me. This, I should say, is what the police thank happened.
(C) Someone "bumped" the locks. Basically same as (B), but more thought out and helps explain how they got in even though I double-checked the doors. This is the locksmith's opinion, but not based on any physical evidence. It also helps him sell me new locks.
My questions are - (a) what happened; and (b) what should I do to prevent it from happening again?
I am having the locks changed and am going to be much stricter about who gets a key, for one.