Monday, April 21, 2008

You're Not My Neighbor

When your doorbell rings at 10:20 p.m., you can pretty much be assured bad news lies between you and the door. In our case it was a "neighbor" claiming to be from one of the streets that runs behind our house. He gave some sob story about how he had locked himself out of his house and he had his 11-month old and wife in the car. He said he just needed a little money to pay a locksmith. "I'll be right back with it in just about a couple hours, soon as I get this straightened out" he said. I came to the door after Michael so that's about all I heard. Apparently he had some sort of temporary ID as well but he said he had just moved in.

In retrospect, the correct thing to do would have been to apologize to him and tell him we couldn't help him. As I'm sure he expected, it was late and we were caught off guard. We're nice people. We would help a neighbor in trouble. So basically he preyed upon the things he could deduct about us based on where we live. I guess our house looked extra friendly since all the lights were on, which is supposed to be a theft deterrent. We gave him $40, which was the only cash we had at the time. He stepped inside our door (even though Michael had asked him to wait on the porch,) and stood there and talked to me about dogs and furniture while he politely robbed us. I knew something was up when Dinah, our normally friendly dog was cowering near my legs and barking at the guy. Granted this is petty theft but I'm still furious. WHAT A PREDATORY JERK! And it goes without saying that I now feel unsafe. What if this guy was scouting the neighborhood? What if he had been armed? What if he comes back?

The minute he left I locked the house down, and needless to say I was not very happy. Michael is an extra nice person, probably too nice in some cases. He's the kind of guy who will always help someone in need. I admire that trait in him but in this case it was not such a great thing. I told him I thought it was all a scam and together we decided to call the sheriff's office. Sure enough there had been another report from someone else in our neighborhood. They took our information and asked if we would like to speak to an officer. We said sure and about two hours later there was another knock on our door.

The officers were very friendly but there wasn't much they could do. They took down our information and our basic report and then stated the obvious, which is that we should never have entertained the "neighbor's" story in the first place and we certainly should have never allowed him to step into our house...even though he basically took that upon himself. I keep replaying the incident in my mind and wondering what we could have done differently. I suppose the fact that we had never seen him before should have been a clue, but he had that covered by claiming he was new to the neighborhood.

I guess you live and learn, and luckily nothing really bad happened but still...what a crazy world we live in! I wonder how many other nice people the creep scammed?

1 comment:

Duck Hunter said...

That is horrible what they did to you. You shouldn't feel too bad because you were trying to do the right thing.

I'm just really glad it wasn't worse. Nobody got hurt.