Explanation for mysteriously appearing clothing?
September 11, 2013 11:24 AM   Subscribe

While trimming the hedges in my front yard (single family home located in a suburban area within a large midwest city) this afternoon, I came upon a men's size medium denim jacket underneath one of the hedges under my (first floor) bedroom window. While I think the most obviously explanation is it was probably discarded there for a totally banal reason (e.g. teens fooling around), is it possible that something more sinister is afoot? Is there any reason I should be concerned, and if so, what should I do?
posted by anthropophagous to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Bedroom window -- peeping tom?
posted by Michele in California at 11:27 AM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Anything in the pockets? Have you asked your immediate neighbors? Could it have blown off the roof of a passing car?

I walk a lot and on occasion I've shed an outer layer of clothing and hidden it behind a bush or tree. then on my way back I grab it, unless i forget.
posted by mareli at 11:33 AM on September 11, 2013

Is it dirty, like it might have... I don't know... blown there by strong winds and just got caught in the bushes? Or is it clean like someone was peeping in the window last night and got warm and forgot his jacket?

Do you have a gardening crew that could possibly have left it?
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:35 AM on September 11, 2013

Homeless guy sleeping under the hedge?

We (in Minneapolis, not a particularly suburban part) find people's stuff all the time. Sometimes I think it's just stuff that people abandon - for some reason they don't want it or can't carry it any more. Sometimes it has probably been stolen and hidden for a prank; sometimes I think it's something that a person found and then decided they didn't want. Sometimes I think people forget it when they are drunk or high. Sometimes it's when people have stopped to rest and have accidentally left it.

Sometimes kids have borrowed something from the family wardrobe either for dress up or because they're cold and just grab dad's jacket. And then they take it off and lose it.

It's not something that I worry about especially, and nothing sinister has ever come of it. Think of it this way: if someone really is peeping in your window or casing the joint, nine times out of ten they're going to remember all their stuff and leave no trace. But if something has been left, nine times out of ten it's been left for a perfectly innocuous reason that has nothing to do with you.
posted by Frowner at 11:40 AM on September 11, 2013 [8 favorites]

I'd check for any ID in the jacket, then leave a note in a plastic bag where the jacket was saying something like "I have your jacket, and I know you were here. This is your warning."
posted by a halcyon day at 11:41 AM on September 11, 2013

It could have been sitting in some totally boring place, like the sidewalk, and a critter could have carried it over to the hedges.

My dog (who has absolutely zero street smarts, so take this with a grain of salt) steals clothing ALL THE TIME (usually spent underpants) and drags it out into the living room to feast on/roll in. I could definitely see something like a raccoon doing similar.
posted by phunniemee at 11:42 AM on September 11, 2013

I've had my home broken into such that there were caches of old clothing with a sleeping bag hidden in bushes beforehand, and caches of food, clothing, and items of mine they couldn't take in an initial trip after.

So... it could be nothing, but it could also be something.
posted by CrystalDave at 11:53 AM on September 11, 2013

A denim jacket is pretty heavy, and probably doesn't see much laundering, but do people dry clothes outside where you live? Maybe it was blown off a clothesline and ended up under your hedge. Any taller buildings around with a balcony or terrace it could have fallen off of?

Also, do you have jacket weather now, i.e. would a random person walking down your street be wearing this jacket?
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:30 PM on September 11, 2013

Response by poster: to answer some of the questions here.. 1) There was nothing in the pockets, 2) the jacket was quite stiff and seemed somewhat new although it was a little dirty/mildewy (i assume from being in my bushes for at least several days), 3) It is very hot here right now, but last week it was chilly (50s-60s) enough for jacket weather, 4) At least one of my neighbors line dries clothes, 5) there are no tall buildings here (just 1-2 story single family homes), 6) A few days ago there it did seem as though it got very windy at some point during the night, 7) It was the only thing in the bushes, I rooted around and did not find anything else.

I have never seen anyone who appeared to be homeless in my neighborhood, but there are always lots of people around walking their dogs, a park nearby, kids, and a lot of city utility workers lately. Many of my neighbors have gardening crews, although I do not. My neighborhood is notably low-crime in my city, although there definitely is some (property) crime.
posted by anthropophagous at 12:42 PM on September 11, 2013

No idea if its concerning or not. There's just no way to know.

One option for the more concerning scenario is to hang up a Mr Beams motion-activated wireless light outside your window. $20 on amazon. Not super bright, but no electrician or DIY wiring necessary either. Bonus: some people see it and think its a camera.
posted by vitabellosi at 12:42 PM on September 11, 2013 [8 favorites]

Ask your line-clothes drying neighbor if it's his/hers.
posted by michellenoel at 2:51 PM on September 11, 2013 [11 favorites]

Is the high school bus stop in front of your house? Mine is, and I frequently find random stuff in my bushes during the day only for it to disappear shortly after the bus drops the kids off again in the afternoon.
posted by Runes at 3:11 PM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've known a few runners who dump clothing under shrubs when they get warm and pick it up later. Perhaps this runner forgot to come back?
posted by kimberussell at 6:35 AM on September 12, 2013

Once when I was drunk I managed to loose my jacket on the way home
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:34 AM on September 12, 2013

“Oh I have been to Ludlow fair, and left my necktie God knows where.
And carried half way home, or near, pints and quarts of Ludlow beer.
Then the world seemed none so bad, and I myself a sterling lad.
And down in lovely muck I've lain, happy, till I woke again.”
posted by Segundus at 1:19 PM on September 12, 2013 [7 favorites]

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