House Break-In, stole metal and who knows what else...

Our other property was broken into last weekend. It is currently unoccupied and we were additionally on vacation out of town so didn't stop by as we normally do to check on the house and do yard work. Perfect timing he could not have known about. We found out today when we showed up and saw the side shed open and some tools laying about. Then I saw the apple tree was pruned, followed by seeing the giant overgrown rhododendron cut back extensively. Looked up and saw a window open (not broken into, just open, screen still in). Then the back door was unlocked. We proceeded with caution and found no one inside, but there were boxes of things in the kitchen, all the cupboards were open, the fuse panel was open and the fuses removed for some of the electrical lines...things were WAY out of sorts.

The man DID YARD WORK in our back yard, so when a neighbor saw him and asked what he was up to he simply said "Just cleaning up." Great cover. Get this: He trimmed trees, shrubs, blackberry bushes, and raked it into piles, even bagged some of it up... then later broke into the house and both sheds (tore one shed door off the hinges, cut through the metal paneling on the back of the other shed and crawled in) and stole every bit of wiring, copper piping, tools, and scrap metal he could find to haul away down the back alley. He took down shelving and boxed up the metal brackets intending to take them abut they were left behind. Strewn about the yard were various radio components and metal scrap we didn't even know had been in the sheds, but were clearly pulled out for consideration. He disconnected built-in speakers and pulled the wiring from the walls, and even went under the house and stole some of our piping and electrical from under the house, took plumbing from the bathroom, and cut cords off of any electrical items in the house (a space heater, a fan, appliances, etc). Hauled away about 8 car batteries, too. This must have taken hours to do, maybe even came back over days, with the yard work he did plus the volume of items stolen. A headlamp flashlight was left behind and powered on in the living room, which leads me believe he returned at night to complete some of the work. He also found a wall-safe behind a photo on the wall, pried the door off by brute force, and then REHUNG THE PHOTO. Drug addict, anyone?

Our neighbor who saw him didn't get any useful description of him for the police and they doubt they will find prints. We are bolting things down and putting up No Trespassing signs as suggested by the police to help should a squatter try to come in and take residency--showing we tried to make the place inaccessible helps with legal issues that may arise, as was the case at the 137th and Burke house recently in the news in Shoreline. The cops were really nice, helpful, professional, sympathetic. They were even on some calls at the 137th and Burke house, and had mentioned seeing our house before today and wondering if it was going to be a target. They pay attention!

The upside? Weeks of yard work done for us by someone else. *shrugging and laughing* If you can't have a sense of humor about these things, what do you have?

I am upset, but I don't know how to describe it. I am not angry or scared per se. Definitely feel violated but not in a fearful way. In an "icky" way. I feel irritated--annoyed at the headache this causes. The house is a teardown, but not yet. So we need to pay to have someone come out and fix the electrical and plumbing, at least basically, so that we don't have problems down the line (like the sump pump has no power now, so when it starts to rain this will be a big issue). I just kinda wanted to crawl home, cuddle my dog, and drink wine and not have to deal with it. Ugh.

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