I happened to be walking through my living room when something next door caught my attention and drew me outdoors. An older, mostly non-descript red car was backing into my neighbor’s driveway. Odd. Odder still, the driver released the trunk from inside. Hmmm. I stood there, in plain sight, as the driver rustled through something in the front seat. He seemed to be pulling on gloves or ransacking the car. He looked up and through the open window on the passenger’s side we exchanged pleasantries. “How’s it going?” “Not bad, how about you?” I don’t recall who spoke first, just that it was an standard exchange between civil strangers.
The driver – a thief, as it turns out – was decent-looking, thirty-ish, clean-shaven, with short but not really-short black or dark hair. He was calm, albeit distracted. As I stood there, I pulled out my cellphone and called my neighbor. Perhaps she was expecting a delivery or worker or friend. She was quite surprised by my information. During this brief call, the guy closed his trunk and slowly drove off into the neighborhood. I saw a balloon fiesta NM plate starting with ‘LM’. (I’m easily befuddled by license plates – I expend a lot of energy scanning random characters for meaning.) At that point, my neighbor and I concluded it was an odd episode, nothing more.
When she got home, the neighbor realized someone had actually broken in. The front door was ajar. The back sliding door was broken and open. The bathroom window was broken. Some of her stuff was in pillowcases, but it seems they didn’t get away with anything. The cops arrived minutes after she called them and were very thorough and professional. They say they’ve had many such calls in our neighborhood and the University area.
If I’d gone down the hall instead of through the living room, I’d have missed the whole thing. Keep an eye out. Neighborhood watch works.