I can distinctly remember two times in my life when I have felt completely violated and vulnerable. Both times I was stolen from.
The first time was in the months leading up to me moving back to Mountain Home. I had been living as a single mom in an apartment complex next to Boise State University's campus for almost five years.
I had moved in there with a five month old child and I was afraid of her father showing up. I chose my apartment because, yes, it was close to campus, but also because it was a secure entrance apartment. People had to either enter with a key or be let in through an intercom system, by ringing up whoever they were there to visit. For a girl who had barely lived in a town at all in my whole 21 years at the time, it made me feel more secure in my move to Boise. For the next few years I adapted quickly and enjoyed our little apartment in downtown so close to all of the parks and the greenbelt. I was confident in my surroundings.
One night shortly after my now husband moved in with me, we arrived home after a weekend in the hills to a kicked in apartment door and a smashed door jam. If he wasn't living with me, I may have never been comfortable sleeping there again. After a quick look around it became apparent that the big ticket items had been left untouched. Televisions, laptop, desktop and camera, they were all there. The things that were missing, however, pointed to a certain group. Though it would be a little longer, before I learned this after I went to work at Airman Pawn. My aunts had worked there for years and it was obvious whoever broke into my home were looking for pawnable items that were difficult to trace. This was during the time when a Disney DVD would still get you two dollars a piece. My collection of over 30 of them were taken. Other items taken were also movies that were considered classics and worth more at the time: Casino, Good Fellas, Reservoir Dogs etc. My husband's collection of whiskey glasses and shot glasses were also missing. Obviously this looked like young kids (probably my building neighbors) had broke in wanting beer money and deciding they needed something to drink their beverages out of as well, guess they thought they needed my belongings more then we did.
When we moved home to Elmore County I slowly became more lax in how I did things, this is where people don't necessarily worry about locking their doors, in fact, my husband made fun of me about my insisting on locking up doors, windows and vehicles at all times.
"You're not in Boise anymore, do you really have to lock the door even when you're inside the house?'"
I've slowly adapted back to small town life over the past nine years. My house doors are locked when I go to sleep and when I leave, but a lot of the time when I am home all I have shut is the storm door. I didn't worry about keeping my car doors locked up in my driveway and in fact had come to the decision that I'd rather punk kids opening up cars at night to steal items, find it open instead of breaking my windows. I just made sure not to leave anything I couldn't live without in the cars. I'm horrible about losing my car keys and often times left the keys in my vehicle while here at the newspaper office. It might not be the smartest move, but lets face it, many other community members besides me have this same lax attitude. "It's Mountain Home, it's fine."
Well as many of you probably saw on the different Facebook groups it came back to bite me in the butt big time.
When I left work on Tuesday, July 30, I was low on gas, had a drink with a friend for her birthday next door and I decided to just get a ride home from my husband, he'd drop me off at work in the morning.
Wednesday morning I woke up sick and didn't go to work. On Thursday I arrived at work to a missing vehicle. My first thought was why the heck would it have been towed? It had been parked legally, hadn't been there long and it was literally at my place of business. A call to dispatch quickly ruled that out, then it was, well maybe one of our friends were having a little fun with us and had hid it around the corner from us. A few phone calls and drives around the neighborhood quickly ruled that out as well. Plus I heard from co-workers that they were pretty sure it had been gone since late Tuesday evening when circulation got back from route dropping off the next day's paper. They just thought I had taken it home, it was now actually missing for over 24 hours. I reluctantly called dispatch back, not quite willing to really believe someone had stolen my crappy old '94 Explorer.
When the police officer came to take my report, I felt like a fool for leaving my keys in the car and was pretty much in a state of shock that this had actually happened. I mean, it was taken during daylight hours (we think) from right outside of the newspaper office. Who could imagine that happening?
After work I posted a picture of the same vehicle as mine online along with my plate number and once again our community was awesome. In less then two hours that post was shared at least 30 times and at the end of those two hours I received a call from MHPD that my car had been recovered in the county and I could go up to their lot to pick it up.
I still can’t believe my car was taken and it did shake me up. My keys are in my purse at all times and I am being extra cautious in all things, but the way the community quickly came together to help me out made me feel so much better.
There are still some things that make me nervous, a friend was just telling me a story about a vehicle being stolen and when it was recovered they ended up finding dirty needles in it. I now plan to ask law enforcement to run a dog through it for me just to be on the safe side. This morning I remembered a necklace that I was pretty sure was in the glove box, but it wasn’t there, so after work I’m going to have to go check jewelry boxes and other areas at home to double check if it just got taken inside and I don’t remember. Fingers crossed that is the case. I don’t know what will end up happening with this case, but I want to thank law enforcement and our community for helping me recover my crappy ol’ Ford Explorer. It helped restore my faith a little.