Last Saturday, I awoke to the chilling sound of someone trying to break the glass pane on my backdoor.   After an initial sweeping of the house, my roommates and I decided it was probably some punk kid banging on windows all over the neighborhood, so we went back to sleep.

Moments after getting back in bed, we heard the sound again, followed by the gut-wrenching sound of shattering glass and Cody and Mark yelling that someone was in the house.

Luckily, the intruder was unable to turn the lock by reaching through the broken glass and left.  Cops came, reports were filed, glass was swept up from even the farthest-reaching corners of the kitchen.  It was an uneasy morning, to be sure.

It was also a rare Saturday that I had to go in to work at 9:00am.  This had all happened between 5:45am and 6:30am (In broad daylight!  With four of us home!), and by the time it was all worked out, I had to get in the shower.

Imagine my surprise when I hear Cody and Mark screaming in the kitchen.  My dog’s frantic barking had caught their attention and when they went into the kitchen, the intruder was standing at the backdoor AGAIN with his hand reaching in through the hole he’d made, attempting to open the door.  Cody and Mark screamed, yelled, cussed and chased him away with a hammer.  He ran to his car – a red Maxima with a personalized license plate that said “SNUGGLE” (I only wish I were kidding) – faceplanting in the street before climbing in and driving away.

I was, of course, freaking out – in my towel, on the phone with 911.  Six cop cars appeared in my street nearly as soon as I’d managed to tell the operator our address.  We told them the car and they were off.

My roommates and I were relieved when the cops returned with the good news that they had caught the guy in the exact car we’d described, snuggly plates and all.  Cody and Mark went down to the station to identify him.

After an hour of filling out paper work, Cody, Mark and our neighbor Laura, who happened to be up at that ungodly hour and saw the guy running to his car were asked to choose the man from a group of six mug shots.  They were surprised, assuming there would be a line-up.  The cops informed them that in order to do a line-up, they would need six African-American bald men, and they didn’t have that.  Cody and Mark were at a loss.  The man at our backdoor had sunglasses on.  So even though they could describe his build and what he was wearing, they couldn’t ID him from a mug shot.

Without an ID, the cops had nothing.  They drove the man home.

While I’m thankful that the cops responded so quickly to both our 911 calls and seemed eager to help us (We were given permission to do WHATEVER we need to to protect ourselves in the event that someone tries to get into our house again.  We are prepared for next time, so please, for your own sake – never sneak into our house at night.), and while I’m sure they were only doing their job, it felt like a serious slight.  We were able to tell them what car the man drove and that the license plate said SNUGGLE.  They picked up the man in that car less than a mile from our house.  But because he denied it, and because Cody and Mark didn’t get a good look at his face, they let him go.

I don’t know much about law enforcement, but that just seems screwed up.

And now, here I am a week later, still unable to sleep alone in my own house, uneasy when I’m here alone at all.  My imagination goes wild and I have to convince myself that the guy won’t come back.  It wouldn’t be worth it for him…right?  There is nothing worse than feeling ill at ease in your own home.  If I can’t be comfortable here, where can I?


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