Posted by: Rob | January 8, 2010


I can still hardly believe it happened.

I’ve seen the aftermath of criminal and vandal activity before.  Many times before.

I remember when we were in San Diego, travelling daily to Tijuana.  We were staying in Imperial Beach and we would use the San Diego trolley system to get down to San Ysidro.  We’d drive to the Palm Avenue station, park the rental care in the lot and ride the trolley to and from San Ysidro.

I remember arriving at the parking lot one day and seeing a blue Mazda hatchback of some sort with its driver side window shattered, pieces of broken glass all over the pavement.  We parked a fair distance away and I estimated the odds that the thieves might return and hit our car.

Another time it was an older Lincoln that took the brunt.

I couldn’t understand it.  How could this happen in a wide open transit park and ride lot in broad daylight?

“Sucks to be them, ” was my usual thought.  The same thought I had every time I saw a broken window or someone driving along with a piece of plastic duct taped over their window, usually the driver’s window.

I’ve even had to repair two such broken windows, one for each of my daughters.

And yet I was very surprised, not to mention taken aback, when we returned from skating on the Sunday after Boxing Day.  We’d taken the Equinox over to the rink and it had been parked in the drive in back.  The Avalanche was out in front of the house, more or less “on the street”, at least as much as it can be considered that in our little hamlet.  When we came back from the rink, I parked out front pulling in behind the Avalanche.

Ann and Dee made their way to the front door while I wandered up to chat with a neighbour who was using a KittyCat to pull his small son around on a tobaggan.  The KittyCat had quit and I went to lend a hand.

I’d no more than come round the back corner of the Avalanche when I saw pieces of glass on the ground.  All thoughts of the stranded neighbour vanished from my mind as my eyes swept upward to take in the ragged hole in the driver’s side window.

“Oh, I don’t believe this!” were the first words to escape my lips.

I could see right away that, in addition to the broken glass, the belt molding along the bottom of the window was broken.  As I looked inside it was immediately evident that the leather upholstery had been sliced or cut in several places.

The door lock was still down.  It didn’t look like anything had been opened or searched.  There really was nothing of value in the truck.

I pulled up the lock and opened the door, which set off the alarm.  Lights flashing and horn honking, I called to Ann to bring the truck key.

There was so much glass everywhere.  It was hard to believe it all came from one window.

There is an uncomfortable feeling of personal violation when something like this happens.  Logically, one must conclude that it was not a personal attack and yet that’s exactly how it feels.  Which might explain why my gut response is an overwhelming desire to do bodily harm coupled with the frustration that I’ll never know who was responsible for this.

Now we have a new routine at our place.  I had to do a quick reorganization of our garage, although it only accommodates one vehicle (despite being a two car garage).  Every night I park one vehicle in the garage and the other in the driveway in the back.  Every morning I bring the Avalanche around front for Ann before I leave for work in the Equinox.  It’s tiresome, but I don’t have the trust or faith to leave anything parked out front for the time being.

I’ve asked my municipal councillor if the county would consider installing video surveillance in our little hamlet.  So far I’ve been promised a community meeting with all residents invited to discuss what we can do to head off the growing property crime wave.

If the county won’t do video surveillance I plan to do so on our property.  And install a few more motion detector lights.

Full repairs haven’t been completed on the truck yet, but it’s whole and sound again.

I can still hardly believe it happened.


  1. It’s a bad feeling that takes a long time to go away. My apartment was broken into once and the violent revenge fantasies didn’t abate for months.

    • The fantasies are fading. Slowly.

  2. ouch… i don’t know how you’ll ever be the same again. ‘personal violation’ is too mild to describe, i’m sure

    • I have to keep telling myself “It’s just stuff”. I wasn’t “personally” violated (you know, like happens in prison sometimes?), so that’s good. I don’t think I could ever get over the latter.

  3. I had something similar happen when I was a young, fairly newly-married twenty something. We had gone to a pinball arcade in a decent neighborhood. When we returned to our car we found somebody had thrown a cinder block though the driver side window, and sliced our cloth seats. We were bewildered because nothing was stolen, it was obviously done simply to create a lot of damage to our vehicle. To this day, I can’t figure out why anybody would do that much damage just for the heck of it.

    I’m sorry that happened to you. It does change one’s perception of people and the world in general.

    • “Why?” A question that rarely has a good answer.

      I think the root problem is an ongoing cycle of “damaged” people. It’s been millennia now and we haven’t managed to figure out how to break that cycle.

  4. I haven’t had a break in – either home or car. Someone cleared my garage out of all of the bits and pieces lying around in it mid last year though. It wasn’t locked, they just walked in and helped themselves. It did give me a bit of a nasty turn though, and have me being doubly conscious of security and keeping gates and doors securely locked. The folks across from my parents have been robbed three times in the last two weeks and down the road, a car window is sure to get smashed at least once every while. It could be part of the society we’re breeding. Either way, hope it hasn’t shaken you up too much.

    • As time passes, the severity of the violation has declined. I heard later that the vandals were also active in a couple of other neighbouring communities, so I feel less “singled out”. But I am still not parking any vehicles on the street out front overnight and, now that we have clarity, we have plans to build an addition on to the house which will include an attached garage to be used for parking and securing our vehicles.

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