A few years ago, a good friend of mine was robbed. Yes, another robber story, but hey, that’s what happens in the security business. He lived in a double- storey townhouse that was not too far from where I lived at the time. He was quite upset when he rang me and really needed to have his door secured straight away. He also needed the house rekeyed because his key ring had been stolen.
This might have been the most valuable thing the thieves had made away with because the burglar now had unlimited access to his car and his home. I drove as quickly as I could and arrived at my friend’s home to find out that all the cash, jewellery and items that even insurance cannot replace were all gone. Papers, silver, coins, everything – the place had been picked clean.
To be honest, my friend’s home had been an easy target. The back door had been easily jimmied. None of the doors had bolts and there was no alarm system. I got the badly damaged front door fixed up well enough that it could be bolted and spent a while rekeying the entire house. I asked if the car keys or remote were missing and though he assured me they were not, he did confess that his spare set of house keys were gone.
He kept them in a bowl in the kitchen! I held my breath, counted to ten and as calmly as I could told him in no uncertain terms that spare keys belong in a safe.
Shaking my head and mumbling a bit under my breath, I secured the home as best I could, rekeyed the locks and left him in the hands of the police. He was giving them his report and waiting for the insurance company to call as I walked out the door. The next morning I got a phone call from my very same mate. Breathless, he began, “You’re not going to believe it. Around 2.00 am while fast asleep,” (his bedroom is on the second floor at the rear of the house), “I heard the roller door go up. I got to the blinds and opened them and saw someone opening my car door and jump in.” He finished the story, saying that before he could get downstairs to his car it was gone.
Apparently, the previous day, the thieves had stolen the garage remote control and a spare set of car keys and he had not noticed, even though I had asked when he had confessed about the house keys.
But, there is a happy ending. My mate rang the police straight away to tell them what had happened and the burglar was caught driving my mate’s car early that same morning. They followed the not- smart-enough-burglar back to his house to find all my mate’s belongings, as well as lots of other stolen goods. Apparently, the thief had just been released from prison for similar crimes and seemed set on going right back in.
I certainly learned my lesson. When working with the victim of a burglary, give them what they need for future protection, not what they think they need. Check and recheck, no matter how annoyed the person you’re helping gets.
Overprotect. That’s a good lesson for you, too. More is sometimes more!