How do I deal with being robbed?
September 9, 2004 5:35 PM   Subscribe

My home was burgled yesterday while my wife and I were at work. Our cats are uninjured; my camera collection, large collection of criterion & kino DVDs, powerbook & lcd projector, and all of her good jewelry were not so lucky.

My question: how do I go about exacting revenge?
posted by luriete to Human Relations (31 answers total)
You don't. You contact the police and file a report. Then you contact your insurance company and file a claim. After the claim is processed, you begin replacing your stuff. You might consider installing an alarm system. If nothing else, it could help keep down your insurance premiums.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:48 PM on September 9, 2004

Sorry; I didn't mean to sound so terse. I understand that you're probably really angry, and I certainly sympathize. It's just that "revenge" probably isn't going to happen, and you'll only frustrate yourself more thinking about getting back at the guy. You should occupy yourself with working through the proper channels until your anger subsides...

Again, sorry about your loss.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:51 PM on September 9, 2004

I would highly recommend you call every used CD / DVD store in the city and fax or deliver a list of the titles that were stolen. In Toronto, this is common practice and many a thief has been caught here this way.
posted by dobbs at 6:02 PM on September 9, 2004

Are you Christian? If so, remember what Jesus had to say about forgiveness. Easier said than done, to be sure, but more rewarding in the end.

By the way, that is great advice dobbs.
posted by caddis at 6:05 PM on September 9, 2004

I'd also report it to your local apple dealer that it's stolen. I believe apple can put it in their repair database.

If he fences the powerbook, they go to repair it, etc. it may show up on a machine database.
posted by filmgeek at 6:06 PM on September 9, 2004

Same thing with cameras, I believe. At least let the local camera shops know make/model/serial numbers, and if any of them were pro-grade things that are likely to make their way to a factory repair center for CLA, tell the manufacturer.
posted by spacewrench at 6:31 PM on September 9, 2004

yeah, i had my powerbook stolen and apple found it when someone bought it off ebay and took it in for repairs, it had unfortunately allready been wiped rather clean and covered by my insurance company but maybe you could be more lucky.
you need to call apple corporate security, i don't have the number handy, but if you need it, you can email me.
also, to everyone reading this: get renters insurance now, usaa covered everything of mine and my girlfriends when we got robbed and i was living with her, they saved the day.
and like caddis said, don't sweat it, christian or not, it's a good idea.
posted by garethspor at 6:35 PM on September 9, 2004

well, first you have to find out who did it...right. beat the motherfuckers to within an inch
of their life...see how easy that is, and it feels great to.
posted by repoman at 6:37 PM on September 9, 2004

There have been cases of people who kept remote login software on their computers, and used it to track the thieves after the machine was stolen. They just waited for the thief to connect it to the net, and then accessed the computer looking for clues as to where it was. If you have Timbuktu or today's equivalent on there, you might try that. Otherwise... I'm not too sure about the revenge thing. Depending on how bad your taste in movies is, perhaps you've already exacted revenge? ;) Just kidding. Sorry about the burgle. Happy about the cats.
posted by scarabic at 6:41 PM on September 9, 2004

Don't revenge. What goes around comes around.

And besides, being the sort of creep and loser who does B&E is punishment enough. His entire life is payment for the things he's doing. Chances are, too, that it will be a short and pain-filled life.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:14 PM on September 9, 2004

Don't revenge. What goes around comes around.

Not that I necessarily disagree, but that sounds like it applies to the other party, not the victim.
posted by yerfatma at 7:51 PM on September 9, 2004

Regarding renter's insurance: how much can I expect to pay? Is it highly dependent on where I'm living or how valuable my property is? I'm just now approaching the point where I have enough stuff to make it worthwhile.
posted by Eamon at 7:53 PM on September 9, 2004

I think I paid $150 a year for renter's insurance. Never had to use it, but well worth it.
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:58 PM on September 9, 2004

Renter's insurance really is very cheap. In a major metropolitan area, you'd pay $150/year, like Frank -- here in rural southwest Virginia, I pay $100/year. Not only am I covered for theft or damage, but if my apartment burns down, I live in a hotel, have new clothes and stuff bought for me ASAP. My favorite bit: if I'm kidnapped, they'll spend up to $10k on a negotiator and putting my family up in a hotel close to the action. Totally cool.
posted by waldo at 8:03 PM on September 9, 2004

Don't revenge. What goes around comes around.

Um, that's the whole point of revenge -- giving the thief his due, via a thorough throttling or the more civil manner of the legal/justice system.
posted by davidmsc at 8:24 PM on September 9, 2004

I get my renter's insurance through the same company that does my auto insurance, and they give me a bit of a discount on both. I think this year my renter's insurance added up (with the discount) to about $90. I've never personally had to use it, but it does cover a wide variety of claims as noted above. It's very easy to arrange - if you have car insurance, call those folks up first to see what they'll offer. They'll ask questions like: house or apartment building? how many apartments in your complex? sprinklers? alarm? ground floor windows? It has been well worth it for some of my friends.
posted by fionab at 8:40 PM on September 9, 2004

Revenge: Go work in a kitchen somewhere feeding the homeless. No better revenge is possible.
posted by Goofyy at 10:34 PM on September 9, 2004

I stand by it: don't revenge. What goes around comes around, and usually not from where you'd expect it.

The thief's life is shit. Think about it: how fuckin' hard up is that?! He'll get what's coming, probably from a gun when he jacks another low-life.

Do what Goofyy says, and pitch in at a soup kitchen. You've got it good. Do some good, and more good comes back to you. Could be your significant other will do something special. Could be a long-lost aunt will leave you her inheritance. Or maybe you'll just be a bit happier.

You get back what you put in. Reap what you sow. Make your own reality. Goes around comes around. Karmic wheel, universal justice, lady luck, whatever you want to call it.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:05 PM on September 9, 2004

To live well is the best revenge.
posted by SPrintF at 11:08 PM on September 9, 2004

I've gotten stuff stolen before, cars and homes broken into, and I used to really take it personally when I was younger. When someone stole my CD player from my first car I was livid and stayed up half the night waiting for them to return to the scene of the crime.

As I got older, I realized the most valuable things in my life weren't things at all, but were my relationships with people. My computer, car stereo and bicycle are just a bunch of crap I can buy new copies of if I needed to, but I can't replace my friends and family.

I know it sounds greeting card sappy, but seriously, you have those people that are special in your life, then you have a bunch of stupid trinkets. Someone took a few trinkets. If everyone you know is safe and wasn't hurt, then you can get new trinkets to replace the lost ones and continue enjoying the relationships in your life, which are really the only valuable things you have.
posted by mathowie at 11:14 PM on September 9, 2004

luriete: do you know who did it?
posted by bingo at 11:25 PM on September 9, 2004

Well, I still miss some of the trinkets that got stolen from my house a few years ago, sometimes it's hard to have perspective about heirlooms. But I had to settle for taking revenge on my dog. She probably was happily trying to play ball with them while they were carting out my tv, no blood on her lips, so she deserves(d) it. I didn't say a word to her for 3 days, she was banished from the bed, and I didn't play ball with her for a month. I would expect a cat to be useless, but a dog...
P.S. She knew she was in deep shit, but I don't think she ever figured out what she was supposed to do differently, so I got an alarm system.
P.P.S. Yes, she is allowed on the bed again.
posted by dness2 at 11:35 PM on September 9, 2004

So much of human history is encapsulated in dness2's vignette.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:20 AM on September 10, 2004

dness2 : I know the feeling. Woke up to see the whole room tentatively emptied : the TV was moved, but still there - but the bastards apparently knew about the money from the charity meeting that my parents managed the previous day and spent the evening counting, and just placed in a drawer when going to sleep. Makes you think...
Looking around for what was missing, the dog came out of the kitchen, with that special ears position that means "err, i think i might have eaten a large ham tonight, sorry, my bad".
We had an alarm, but set it on at the times, cos you know, some furious dog we have here. Ever since than, the alarm has always been on.

Revenge ? Don't seek reveng, seek for the light & cheap items that have been dumped nearby. Our neighbours brought us some (wallets...) they found in their gardens.
posted by XiBe at 1:36 AM on September 10, 2004

When the insurance money for the DVDs comes in buy Deathwish first and then go after general perpetrators Bronson stylee. It's also possible that the burglary was committed to finance a drugs habit, so you could consider setting yourself up as a local drugs lord then spiking the supply with something nasty.
posted by biffa at 2:42 AM on September 10, 2004

The evil crackheads who robbed my husband and I at knifepoint in our own damned driveway a couple of years back got rolled by a couple of other crackheads in a plea deal. They in turned rolled on some more crackheads in their own plea deal, but they're still in jail and will be until the middle of next year, at least. It's sufficient, even though it's not, ya know?

We never got our wedding rings back.

But any revenge scenarios I had dissolved when I got to see them in handcuffs. Press your local law enforcement to at least try; many metro squads don't even bother with attempting for fingerprints anymore. Don't let them get away with doing the bare minimum on the grounds that "we never catch these guys." Sometimes they do, and if there's evidence to link them to what happened in your home, then some good will come.
posted by Dreama at 4:04 AM on September 10, 2004

Justice and revenge are two different things. I had a guitar stolen by a crackhead neighbor in grad school. I literally didn't replace that thing for eight years. I cringe when I think about how much better I'd be playing the four songs I knew if that hadn't happened :)

But anyway, CrackHead wasn't on his girlfriend's lease, so we had him evicted. And then he broke the window on our car. Don't know if he was looking for treats or what. But he left town and never came back. Jimmy, the crazy old guy upstairs, saw Crackhead monkeying with his car and pulled a little derringer on him.

I miss Kentucky.
posted by mecran01 at 8:11 AM on September 10, 2004

Three guys burglarized our house a few years ago. They were arrested and we got most of our stuff back thanks to a neighbor who saw what happened and called the police. Since then, one guy is back in prison on more serious charges and is likely to stay there for awhile. Another guy was shot and killed. Not sure what happened to the third guy.

Bide your time and read the local paper.
posted by maurice at 9:50 AM on September 10, 2004

I hope you had renter's insurance, it was worth it's weight in gold for us - we got an almost $1000 payment, enough to cover everything we lost. It could have been worse for us too.

Unfortunately, most of the time, crime does pay, and I don't expect the criminals to be caught in these instances. Lock up, protect things better, get renter's insurance, and go on with things.
posted by agregoli at 10:52 AM on September 10, 2004

Oh, I should mention. The above burglary was the THIRD time. The first time I got steel doors. The second time I got the dog (thus my reasonable frustration at her uselessness). The third time I got the burglar system, which was monitored and called the police for me when triggered and was mysteriously tripped several times over the next few weeks before they decided to leave the house alone. The police were not surprised by either the lack of canine efficacy or the REPEAT VISITS. Apparently it's really common for them to wait for insurance money to replace stuff and then break back in however they did it the first time. Therefore, the best idea is to spend the insurance money on a monitored alarm system first -- it's not overkill -- to break a pattern that might REALLY piss you off.
The dog still has satisfactory job performance as chief dish pre-washer, so I'm glad I didn't send her back. I'm not totally heartless, you see.
posted by dness2 at 2:20 PM on September 10, 2004

« Older Tips for commuting by bicycle   |   End of the Universe Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.