Today marks one year since I surprised a burglar coming through my dining room window. I had fallen asleep on the couch, and, at about 3:00 a.m. I got up to get a drink of water. I debated on whether or not to traipse upstairs to bed and decided against it since I get up at 5:00 anyways. That was probably one of the better decisions in my life.
As I drifted back to sleep on the couch, I heard a slight “pop.” I listened another minute and didn’t hear anything else, so I just assumed it was a night noise. I always left my windows open for air during the summer as long as it was nice. I never closed them – a practice I have now discontinued thanks to my uninvited visitor. But I digress.
A minute later I heard another “pop” – this one louder. I started getting a little worried, so I got up, picked up a piece of wood I had left by the wall (used to prop windows open), and started into my dining room.
As I looked around I thought it was strange that no light was coming in the middle bay window. In a split second, I saw why. The shape of a man was coming through the window screen, and his body was blocking the light. He had almost crawled completely through when he saw me. I was stunned and scared to death. I started screaming at the top of my lungs and raised the stick. While no one would have heard me at that hour in the morning, apparently he didn’t know that. He frantically shinnied back out of the window and dropped and ran.
I was shaking so badly I thought I would collapse. I called the police immediately, and they arrived within a few minutes. The police didn’t find anyone, but in looking at the window screen, it was clear the burglar had cut the screen with a knife. Had I gone upstairs, he would have made it into the house. Maybe he would have only taken something and run, but I don’t even like to think about the idea of what might have happened had I heard him and confronted him. Of course, since I am a “bleeding heart liberal”, I would probably have tried to counsel him, feed him, and given him $20 bucks, and sent him on his way.
For a couple of weeks after the incident, I slept with a steak knife by my side. I no longer leave my windows open, and I have pretty much gotten over the fear. I do have a can of mace, which my youngest son got me. He preferred I get a gun; I preferred I didn’t. But you know, I am still not sure who was more surprised – me or the burglar.