The ‘thief’ in the house was mine

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 3, 2013

When we walked in the door Monday night after a long, tiring day at work, I dropped my jacket on the door and made my way to the bedroom as he headed to the kitchen.

I heard him ask, “Hey, did you open the oranges?”

I replied back with a “Uhh, no. I ate at Kiwanis today. I haven’t been home for food.”

“Well, someone’s been here, then,” he said waving me back to the kitchen. And there, sure enough, was the open bag of oranges on the counter.

My heart seized up for a moment, recalling the story about the spring break burglaries in Andalusia. The tips of my fingers tingled as fear and the thought of someone in my house coincided. Four people were jailed in connection with the burglaries of seven homes and seven vehicles – one of which was in my neighborhood, mind you. The majority of those properties were unlocked during the crime. Now, I’m not saying that by leaving a car or home unlocked, one gives permission for just anyone to come in and take what they want. It doesn’t; however, on the flip side, one must take responsibility for one’s property. It’s no different than getting your child immunized against chicken pox or bringing in the lawn furniture ahead of a hurricane.

I feel like I can say these things because I’ve had my home and vehicle broken into. Granted, the home “break-in” was more of a “wander-in” by a man suffering from Alzheimer’s who lived up the road, but still…it taught me to lock my door because there’s nothing more frightening than coming face-to-face with a stranger in one’s own home.

And, I really did have someone break into my car. They stole my purse with the Christmas money I had inside. A few weeks later, a former Florala city councilwoman found my wallet in a ditch. Everything was there except the cash. They eventually caught that guy and he was sent to prison for running through neighborhoods and burglarizing unlocked vehicles.

I mean, I am the person who, on rare occasion, leaves her keys in the front door after working a 16-hour stint at the newspaper office. I know that’s not smart either. That’s kind of asking for it.

So, folks – lock your front door, your back door, your car doors and your shed doors. Don’t leave valuables – like, say, a purse – lying in the front seat of the car. I call that being preventative. Granted, those measures won’t deter a determined thief, but at least you can say you did all you could to prevent it.

As for the orange mystery, it only took a moment for my Mr. Policeman to figure it out after I said – with much relief after I made the realization, “Ora came home to get her dance costume. She must have done it.”

He took a look around and agreed.

“I’ll tell you exactly what she did, too,” he said, motioning to the clump of bananas on the table. “She saw the bananas first, broke one off and then, changed her mind when she saw the oranges.”

And sure enough, the fruit thief was busted – especially considering the pair of scissors lying next to the open bag – as sure as she was caught on video like those other burglars around town.

Next time, I’ll have to lock up my oranges.