Yesterday I got home around 2:45pm and found the side door (which we all use as the primary door) open, but the screen closed. Darlene's car wasn't there, but I figured Dan might have gotten home early and parked in the garage. I'm usually the first one home, but it's not unheard of for someone else to beat me there. I went in and didn't hear anyone, and saw that the recycling had been dumped onto the floor. That was weird, but explainable. Maybe Darlene or Dan came home and needed the bin for something. Maybe the cat was trying to climb on it and tipped everything onto the floor. I was thinking back to if the kids had come with us in the morning or left after us with their grandma, since the kids frequently raid the recycling bin and leave a big mess.
I put my hat on the kitchen table and turned around, and saw that the living room television was askew. That was all kinds of not right. Everything felt very wrong so I went back outside to check for family vehicles, getting David on the phone in the meantime in case he knew something I didn't. The garage door had been kicked or pried open and the tool bench had clearly been searched.
The cat was sitting at the screen door meowing at me rather than off hiding somewhere, so I was pretty sure that there was no one in the house. I wasn't sure enough to actually go in again, just in case. David sent me across the street to the convenience store so I'd be in a safe public place but still able to watch the house and he headed home. Police were called, house searched, statements made, forensics requested, inventories made, insurance company called, etc. A forensic officer made it to the house around 7:15 and dusted a couple likely places for fingerprints, but she didn't get anything usable. Everything was too smudgy.
The thieves had dumped the recycling to use the bin for their upstairs loot, and the laundry from the hamper downstairs for the stuff there. We lost the two Playstation 3 consoles we just got at Christmas (and the rental DVDs that were inside them), the Playstation Portable and three games that were in its case, my Xbox video game console (with all of my saved games on the hard drive and my favorite game disc still in it!), two digital cameras, David's very expensive tricked out Dell laptop, and my iBook. We have receipts and paperwork for nearly everything and insurance should cover it. Most concerning is that they stole a firearm lockbox that had a (legal and registered) handgun in it. The police have all of the information and it's now reported as stolen. What's weird is what wasn't taken. There was stuff a lot smaller that was cumulatively worth a lot more than what they did take.
What's most frightening for me is how easily it could have started as a B&E/theft and then become a home invasion. There are some days when I'm home unusually early depending on how things are at the office. I'm sure it was a crime of opportunity rather than something planned; for the last month and a half, David has been at home during the day and working evenings. Yesterday was his first day on a day shift. Anyone watching the house would have known that we all typically come and go a lot with erratic schedules.
Very scary. I didn't sleep well at all last night.