Why is the dryer half as full as when I started it?
August 7, 2007 10:22 PM   Subscribe

Sometime during the last hour or so, half of my clothes have disappeared from my building's communal laundry facilities. What do I do?

Into the dryer went ~8 polos, 2 pairs of jeans, a couple of T-shirts, and some socks & underwear. Out came 4 polos, 1 pair of jeans, 1 T-shirt and not as many of the others.

The situation:
  • My building has 12 apartments in it (4 per story, 3 stories), with 2 washers and 2 dryers on the middle floor in a common area.
  • There are 2 other similar buildings in the immediate area.
  • Access to the buildings isn't controlled.
  • The buildings are in a residential neighborhood, & not a crime-intense area
  • I don't know most of the other Tenants in the building except the neighbor across the hall, and the neighbors immediately above and below. Most of the residents here seem to keep to themselves and I rarely see most of them, so unless I catch the person wearing my stuff, I couldn't even guess who did it. None of the tenants I know seem to be a likely suspect.
  • I do have renter's insurance, but haven't checked if it's worth it to submit a claim. (probably not)
  • No, I wasn't watching, the dryer takes ~1 hour to run.
  • I haven't done anything (that I know of anyway) to piss off the neighbors.
I'm kind of at a loss, here. Do I call the police? Knock on doors until I find the apartment with a pile of my clothes in it? It's midnight here. I'll probably call the Landlord in the morning, but what else can I do, other than make a trip to the mall?
posted by ArgentCorvid to Human Relations (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Normally I'd say don't bother calling the police, but it seems you're in a fairly small town, so it might actually do some good. But probably not. Take it as a lesson learned and don't leave your laundry unattended.

Don't knock on people's doors, you could end up in a far worse situation.
posted by desjardins at 10:30 PM on August 7, 2007

That's creepy. I'd post a sign up on the entrances and in the laundry room. Is there a security camera in the hallway to/in the laundry room?
posted by spec80 at 10:31 PM on August 7, 2007

Oh, and definitely tell the landlord. You probably won't get your stuff back, but you can request more security. In my old apartment building, we had a closed-circuit camera monitoring the laundry room and the front door. The residents could watch it on their own TVs hooked up to the building's cable system.
posted by desjardins at 10:32 PM on August 7, 2007

Rather than writing it off, put a letter under everyone's door (or in the laundry room) describing the articles and asking them to check their laundry for them as you're sure it was a simple mistake. Little lies are good here - it gives parent's of teens doing stupid things an easy out. And now everyone will be looking for the clothing and have your contact info if they should see it on someone.
posted by jwells at 5:43 AM on August 8, 2007

Posting a note in the laundry room asking if someone took your stuff by mistake is a good idea.

Don't know if this is a factor or even a possibility in your area, but: stealing clothing from unattended laundry rooms is a common kind of petty theft practiced by the homeless (for obvious reasons.)
posted by enrevanche at 6:23 AM on August 8, 2007

This happens a lot in the buildings I've lived in with community laundry. I hate community laundry. I wish I didn't have to deal with it.

Posting a sign has done nothing for us or others. The police aren't going to care. The landlord isn't going to care. He or she will probably make some noise about "increased security" but it won't amount to anything.

Unfortunately, you're plain out of luck.

I love the idea of closed circuit security--I wish that was a reality in more places.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:29 AM on August 8, 2007

Response by poster: There are security cameras on the entrance to the buildings, and the landlord was just as puzzled as I was. I haven't noticed many homeless people around either.

On my way out of the building for work this morning, There was a garbage bag on the dryer with my clothes in it. So it looks like "theft" solved. Thanks for your time, everyone.

But why only ½ of the clothes?

There are 2 dryers, and I was only using one. The other wasn't in use at the time, either.

Definitely about a 8/10 on the weird-shit-o-meter...

/It was one of you, wasn't it?
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:46 AM on August 8, 2007

That is really weird...my only guess is that maybe someone was picking up laundry for someone else in their apartment and grabbed a few things that looked like theirs. Then when they noticed things that were definitely NOT theirs, they left them.

I have done this when a mystery sock turns up in my laundry that is clearly not mine, but I've also never had trouble identifying my own laundry.
posted by tastybrains at 9:03 AM on August 8, 2007

Stay with your laundry. Bring a book. It's the only way to ensure security.

Contact the landlord.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:26 AM on August 8, 2007

Oh, and to add, my friend had her laundry stolen before. This is where I heard of the problem. I don't think the thief took everything in your case because sometimes they hope you won't notice.

Leaving the facilities unattended is the risk you take though.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:28 AM on August 8, 2007

How strange. I'd put up a sign just as a general notice for people to think twice about leaving their wash unattended.
posted by rhizome at 9:34 AM on August 8, 2007

For god's sake, quit leaving your laundry unattended. Not only is it very rude for others who would like to use the facilities without having to wonder what to do with your stuff, it also results in the loss of clothes. Possibly someone was sending you a message, and next time the clothes will disappear permanently.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 11:47 AM on August 8, 2007

Ask the landlord to put a lock on the laundry room door. Okay, so distributing the keys is a hassle but then the pool of potential thieves drops dramatically.
posted by beth at 10:36 PM on August 8, 2007

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