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Venus 30 May 2013 05:19 AM

My house was broken into
Saturday night I came home from work to find a cop car in my attached neighbors yard. (I live in a duplex, I'm on the right side and my neighbors on the left) I thought that was odd but ultimately none of my business and finished pulling up in front of my side of the duplex when I noticed that the screen was pulled down from my kitchen window. I kinda figured it was probably an animal since i have squirrels and possums and things running around the neighborhood but it didn't take me long to see that my kitchen window was open. I panicked and ran over to my neighbor's and knocked on the door and sure enough the cop answered. I told him I'd been broken into and my neighbor Andrew confirmed that he'd been broken into as well.

Then I completely freaked out when it suddenly hit me that I didn't know if my cats were okay or even still in the apartment at all. The cop wouldn't let me go into my place until he checked it out first to make sure no one was hiding inside so I had to stand in the yard with Andrew and wait. It was horrible, I was crying so hard. I didn't give a shit about any of my stuff right then I just wanted my furbabies.

The cop finally came out and let me go in, the apartment was ransacked and I went in calling for the cats (Diego comes when called 150% percent of the time. Vidia more like 50% Diego gets an extra 50% for coming when Vidia is called for. He's kinda the jealous type). Neither of them responded and I had to really search before I found them. Diego was as far under the bed and up against the wall as he could get and Vidia was cowering on the windowsill behind the curtains. And I do mean cowering, she was completely balled up, her eyes were big and her ears were back, her tongue was half out and she was radiating heat. When I picked her up (more like peeled her up) she stayed curled up untill she was in contact with my chest. Normally she hates being held while I'm standing but she had no complaints this time. I had to set her down eventually so i could go talk to the cop again and as soon as she contacted the ground she hunched down and belly crawled under the bed. Diego was too far under the bed to get to so i couldn't do more than baby talk him.

The cop came back in, my parents and landlord showed up, and I had to fill out paperwork while my parents had to cover up the broken window. So far the only things actually missing are my Xbox, 2 laptops, a digital camera, a laptop bag, and a dufflebag.

Everyone finally left and I cleaned up, Diego finally came out from under the bed and ran up to me meowing and then proceded to stay pretty much underfoot until i went to bed. Vidia however didn't come out for several hours and it was only so she could crawl up into bed with me, burrow under all 4 blankets and press herself up against my leg. (To put context to this, she's a mediumhair cat and i sleep under 4 fleece blankets while wearing fleece pajamas. She NEVER goes under all the blankets. She sometimes snuggles up under the thin top blanket but never under all 4) She's done this every night since then. :(

It's been a few days now but I'm still really stressed out. My window's still broken since the glass people my landlord use is booked until monday morning and if i hire anyone else to come do it I'd have to pay for it myself. So now there's just this open portal into my apartment protected only by cardboard, a tarp, and ducttape and I'm basically being told to suck it up and deal with it. My parents are buying me a safe, motion sensitive porchlights, window alarms and I'm seriousy considering a gun purchase.

crocoduck_hunter 30 May 2013 05:58 AM

Sounds like your kitties just had an awful experience. I hope they recover, and I hope you do too. Hugs and pets.

I'd strongly recommend against buying a gun, though. Guns are attractive items to thieves, it's something that they'd be specifically looking for when they break into a house. Plus, they're really not a great home security option if you're not an expert at using them, it's surprisingly easy to miss even at close range and since you live in a duplex that means you've got neighbors on one side of a wall from you plus other homes nearby. A bullet will go right through the wall of a wooden house. If you really feel the need for a defensive weapon, you're probably better off with a tazer or pepper spray, which won't endanger any bystanders if you miss your target.

Nana M 30 May 2013 06:09 AM

It's a horrific feeling, being violated in that way. The only up side is the realize that whoever broke in did so while you were away from home, so they probably weren't up for a confrontation. I'm very sorry your cats were so traumatized. They will need some extra loving for a while in order to feel secure again. You will too, plus some security precautions to make you feel that you have secured your home as much as possible.

In my experience, the burglary when you are away is the way it usually happens. Most burglars seem to want time to search for valuable without being disturbed. We were once broken into by teenagers who helped themselves to a snack, the extra car keys and some loose change. They left the car where it could be found and were never caught (we're pretty sure we know who they where, though). The home invasion type of robbery doesn't happen all that often and most homeowners that I know of don't have a chance to defend themselves against a determined home invader anyway. In your case, if you had owned a gun, it may well have been stolen, too.

Edit: spanked by croco duck!

Sunglass_diva 30 May 2013 02:21 PM

I am so sorry your home was broken into, It is a very scary feeling. I have had it happen as a child, but never as an adult. I am really glad your furbabies are unharmed physically. Give them lots of love and attention, and they should calm down too. But you know that already :)

About the gun, If you do want one, go to the gun shops around town. Talk to the people who work there, and they can help you find a gun safety class. They can also help you determine if you really want a gun. They can also explain the different types of ammunition, such as hollow points that are much less likely to go through a wall into your neighbors home.

Good luck to you.

Lainie 30 May 2013 02:28 PM

Your kitties will be fine, it will just take time. You're still shaken, and so are they. They'll recover, as you will. Try to maintain normal routines and stay neutral in the way you interact with them; if you act like there's a reason for them to stay scared, they're more likely to. I know that's hard to do when you want to cuddle and reassure them.

It must have been awful to have to wait to get to them, but I'm glad the officer was there to check the house before you went in. If someone had still been there, and you'd been hurt, that would have been much worse for everyone, including your kitties.

In deciding whether to get a gun, think carefully about whether you want to keep a loaded weapon in your house, and whether it would be of much use in your defense if it were not loaded.

You might also want to do some research into how common so-called "home invasions" are, as opposed to burglaries of residences where no one is home. Weigh the risks carefully.

nonnieyrissa 30 May 2013 02:38 PM

I would recommend a vet visit, they could have just been really freaked out by stranger, but the way you described Vidia is worrisome. It wouldn't be a bad idea to make sure there are no injuries such as broken bones from being kicked or similar. :(

If they didn't immediately wipe the laptops you can track your device's IP address with Gmail or dropbox to find the IP address of your thief. When you log into those services from any computer, it logs the IP address used, and displays your last used IP in your account. In Gmail, it's in the bottom right-hand corner under "Details," and in Dropbox, it's in Settings > Security under the details of each individual computer. If the thief used your computer, the last logged IP address may be theirs instead of yours. Again, though, if they're smart, they didn't use your computer and this trick won't work. It is also a good idea to continue to do this on a regular basis, as they may not use them immediately. Alternately you could activate the camera remotely, or if it's a Mac use lock and message to offer a fake reward. There are a few other possibilities as well, and failing all else you can do a remote wipe of the hard drives to erase your info/files as a last resort.

ETA- Just saw your last sentence. I am a gun owner, but have not kept my handguns in the house since the kids were born, because even though I am quite proficient and grew up in a family that values guns, especially handguns(marksmen, not hunters) as an adult I have a completely different view of guns, to be honest, even as a teen my views were changing. A older teen that I hung out with almost every summer of my life(Wiley Gates, probably not well known as it happened in a small town in Upstate Ny, where the majority of home owners were summer/weekend residents) killed several family members. He was a really cool kid, who was awkward, but extremely intelligent, that had a horrible home life. If he hadn't had access to guns he would have gotten upset as teens do, but gotten past it. The problem with guns is that things can escalate too fast. If you have a gun on hand it is quite possible that in fear you could kill someone who otherwise would have taken some stuff and left, or you could be killed by someone with more skill than you. More often than not guns do the opposite of their intended outcome. :(

Barbara 31 May 2013 12:50 PM


Originally Posted by Venus (Post 1740015)
and I'm seriously considering a gun purchase.

After a break-in, most everyone thinks at least fleetingly of buying a gun, stocking up on pepper spray or keeping a baseball bat by the front door. It's a normal, natural reaction to have. However, arming yourself isn't going to be answer to the problem. Beyond the dangers of keeping a gun in the house, having one will do nothing to prevent the sort of burglary you experienced, which was having your home broken into when you weren't there.

A better solution is installing motion sensor lights at your front door and at your windows. Burglars don't want to be seen, and motion sensor lights will get them to change their mind about breaking into your place. They will instead go off in search of a home they can sneak in and out of without being observed.

This one works great - we have a number of these outside our house. It runs on 3 AAA batteries.

Mad Jay 31 May 2013 02:31 PM

Most people miss when they try to shoot someone with a gun. Even trained police officers miss their targets than they hit them.

Guns wouldn't have helped you in this case. You were not at the house. Even if you owned a gun, you weren't there to shoot them

Even if you were there and managed to kill/injure the burglars, and you were completely justified you would be looking at litigation that would have dragged for months. ANytime someone gets injured, the courts have to step in and see whether the injury/death was justified. That means lawyer costs and time spent going to the court.

All in all, you were lucky. I don;t mean to minimize the trauma that you must be feeling. just putting things in perspective. If you have the misfortune of having your house broken into, losing some electronics, and having a few scared cats is pretty much the best case scenario. Things could have gone much more horribly, especially if you had a gun.

Think about it, if you did shoot a person, would you live with it? Taking someone's life is not an easy thing to deal with, even if it's completely justified. A few weeks ago, there was a case in our area where a teenager (who was supposed to be grounded) escaped from his house via a window and got drunk with his friends. He came back in a stupor and entered through the same window, only it was the wrong house!! The house belonged to a firefighter who owned a gun. The house was dark, the alarms went off. The firefighter gave him a verbal warning and then a warning shot, and his drunken state the boy ran towards the kid's bedroom, at which point the firefighter shot him down. Imagine how would you feel if you were in the firefighter's shoes. The firefighter did everything right. I would do the same in the firefighter's shoes. A stranger breaks into my home and goes towards my kid's bedroom, the stranger is going to be hurt real bad. I have a duty to protect my child. But, imagine what the firefighter has to live with. Imagine killing your neighbor's son. Imagine driving by your neighbor's house, saying hi to them, not knowing whether they resent you or are scared of you. The kid is gone to another place. The firefighter has to live for a long long long time. Before you buy a gun, think of what would you feel like if things went wrong

Barbara is on the money. Get an alarm system. Burglars don't like noise. They want to keep things clean. As soon as an alarm goes off, the burglars would exit pronto. If the burglars know you have an alarm system, they will just skip over your house and go to the next house. They are looking for easy lunch. The only way to protect yourself from a burglar is not to become easy lunch

If you are looking to get something more than an alarm, maybe a pepper spray, or a taser, I would highly encourage you to take a self defense course. I take a jujitsu class that has an emphasis of self defense, and the sensei talks about scenarios like this. A gun can be a good self defense tool, but it's not the only tool. There are several options available to you, and you need to first educate yourself on those options, and then think about which option is right for you. The Jujitsu community is a small community, and if you are interested, I can ask my sensei, if he knows someone trained and knowledgable near where you live.

Beachlife! 31 May 2013 02:44 PM


Originally Posted by Mad Jay (Post 1740407)
Most people miss when they try to shoot someone with a gun. Even trained police officers miss their targets than they hit them...

In short range with a shotgun, this is not the case. In the case of home protection though, if you have to fire the weapon you have probably already lost the battle.

But, I agree that buying a gun is not the correct solution to this or most problems.

Lainie 31 May 2013 02:49 PM

Gavin de Becker's book The Gift of Fear offers some great advice on staying safe, following your instincts, and distinguishing between real/relatively more likely threats vs. falsely perceived/highly unlikely threats.

GenYus234 31 May 2013 03:00 PM


Originally Posted by Beachlife! (Post 1740413)
In short range with a shotgun, this is not the case.

A shotgun is not a magic gun that never misses. This site shows a series of shot pattern tests. At 5 yards, the average pattern is only 4.5 inches. That might turn a near miss with a handgun into one or two pellets hitting with a shotgun. Which sounds good, except for the fact that even a clean center of mass hit is not certain to stop an assailent, much less a graze or minor hit.

Beachlife! 31 May 2013 03:16 PM

5 yards is not close range, and I never said that a shotgun would never miss even at close range. My statement was that most people won't miss with a shotgun at close range, and that if one needs to fire it, they've probably already lost the battle.

GenYus234 31 May 2013 03:35 PM

Why would most people not miss with a shotgun at close range when they would miss with a handgun at close range? The shotgun does give the user any extra aiming ability.

Beachlife! 31 May 2013 03:51 PM

A bullet has no spread.

nonnieyrissa 31 May 2013 04:19 PM

Beach is right in both of his points. Even a horrible shot is unlikely to miss at close range with a shotgun, 5 yards might sound close but it isn't.

His second point is more important here... If you have to use the gun you've probably already lost the battle. I am not for buying guns for self protection in anyway, they rarely improve the situation, and when they do it is almost always in scaring the person off. So the fear of the gun, not the gun itself. So in my mind saying you have a gun should achieve the same end.

GenYus234 31 May 2013 05:04 PM

Actually, a horrible shot is very likely to miss at close range with a shotgun. The spread is 4.5 inches at 5 yards, which means it will be smaller at closer ranges. Assuming a simple linear spread, the spread is going to be less than 2 inches at 6 feet. Based on these numbers, the shotgun pellets spread 0.64 degrees from each side of the barrel. So the only time a shotgun will hit when a bullet won't is when your aim was within 0.64 degrees of on target. Given a 20 inch barrel, that's a deviation of 1/5 of an inch at the muzzle.

Gayle 31 May 2013 05:14 PM

Iím on the side of not buying a gun. If you are not willing to kill someone who is in your home taking your things, DO NOT GET A GUN FOR PROTECTION. It is not something to scare someone with or shoot in the foot to keep them there til the police get there. Warning shots are simply movie magic. The only reason you should pull a gun on someone is because you want to kill them. Not wound: kill.

If you still feel like you need to own a gun, go to the range for a few months. Most have guns you can rent. Find out what kind of grip and kick you are comfortable with. A lot of people just go for the highest powered thing there is, but if you canít hold a .45 glock steady while you shoot, itís no good to you unless you want to blow a hole in the floor. I have short arms and small hands. Long guns are out of the question for me as are 9mm grips. With an old fashioned pistol grip and a short barrel, I am hell on wheels at the range. With my brotherís Sig Saur, I am a menace to myself and the rest of society. My dadís an instructor and I grew up around guns and the very strict rules for owning and firing weapons. My gun is for target practice. The Louisville Slugger is for defense.

LizzyBean 31 May 2013 06:36 PM

Hugs. I've had my home broken in to on too many occasions. Like you, my first concern was the kitties. The last time it happened was my ex's and I's apartment in Sacramento, right before we moved to Michigan. I had convinced him to take the cats to my parents, instead of leaving them at the apartment, and I'm so glad I did. Goodness only knows what could have happened to them.

I'm so glad no one was hurt though.

I highly suggest you don't buy a gun. Look in to other ways to protect yourself and your kitties first. Take self defense classes and learn to use pepper spray or a taser.

I'm so sorry you had to go through this, and I hope that you will all be okay. Be kind to yourself, and the kitties. Maybe something like this will help them?

Latiam 31 May 2013 07:02 PM

When Little One was still struggling with her adjustment from being as apartment dweeling cat with one owner to a house dwelling cat with 5 owners, we used something like this in the diffuser. We used Feliway from the vet and then the PetSmart knockoff that has 10% Feliway. She responded very well to it - it calmed her down quite a bit.

Beachlife! 31 May 2013 07:18 PM

Feliway is some powerful stuff, especially as a short term solution.

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