On Tuesday evening, I returned from leading a 2-day workshop in DC to discover that my apartment had been visited by burglars who helped themselves to some holiday gifts and rifled through our belongings.
I was shocked and more than a little freaked out. I have always felt 100% safe in my building and my neighborhood. We have not had a break-in in the building for more than 10 years.
We have a doorman and security cameras and a very vigilant live-in super. The burglar struck in the middle of the afternoon when my husband and most of my neighbors were at work. He was wearing a suit and tie, carrying a briefcase, and hit three apartments in one afternoon.
I have lived in New York City for 20 years now and I was robbed once before. That was in the early ’90s in a sketchy building on the Lower East Side (which was still very sketchy back then and had no boutique hotels or non-dive trendy bars). We had a crappy lock on our door and a passing acquaintance with the crackheads and hookers that frequented our block (shout out to Eldridge Street back in the day).
This latest incident was more shocking. It’s not that stuff was stolen. Hopefully, insurance will cover most of it and the mess will be cleaned up (Google search of the month: How to remove fingerprint dust). It’s that our safe little haven was violated.
Our friendly local NYPD officer gave us some tips for increasing security so this never happens again. She mentioned that there have been more burglaries in New York City since the economy tanked, which makes sense. Christmas is a busy season for burglars looking for presents to steal. This particular burglar has hit a few other buildings nearby as well.
Officer C seemed confident that he would be caught eventually, though she was equally confident that he would serve his time, get out, and start burglarizing again. As she put it, “That’s their career. That’s what they know how to do. They might get put away for a while, but when they get out, they go back to their career path.”
So it seems I can find a career lesson even in the aftermath of a burglary. It’s not a very encouraging one, I know. But maybe this particular burglar leafed through one of the 14,000 books on career change in my library (mine and many others by such brilliant people as Barbara Sher and Barbara Winter and Richard Bolles) while he was ransacking my home office. Maybe he found some tips and inspiration to change his career and change his life. Maybe he’ll spend the money he makes pawning our electronics to go back to school and become an x-ray technician.
Ah well, I’m just happy that nobody was hurt and the stolen stuff can be replaced. We’ve upgraded our security to make sure we won’t be receiving any other unwanted holiday visitors. Sorry Santa, but you can’t be too careful these days.