I was at work and followed the story unfolding via emails to my neighborhood listserv. The first email was from my cul-de-sac neighbor Ron, who's retired, and active in our community neighborhood watch. His email said there was a break-in on our road. Not knowing which house (but assuming if it was ours he would have called) and not knowing if he had actually witnessed the break-in, I closely monitored my email. Several neighbors chimed in shortly after saying they saw a car stopped near the entrance, someone was arrested, they were dusting for finger prints, and several unmarked cars were patrolling the neighborhood.
Imagine my surprise when my next door neighbor finally chimed in to the long email thread to say that they were the victims. Adam and I both left work right away to check on our house. He got home in time to see the forensic and K-9 units leaving. Thankfully they were gone before I got the boys home, they're none the wiser.
Turns out, Ron (aka Best Neighbor Ever) returned home (good timing!) to see a strange car facing out parked in the neighbor's driveway. When Ron approached, the guy rolled down his window and said he was waiting for "Jack" (completely bogus name), supposedly to buy a dirt bike. When the guy started acting shady, Ron went back to his house to call 911, getting the guy's license plate number as he started to drive away. Meanwhile, the getaway guy's buddy was in the house rummaging upstairs. He had gotten in through a back window, prying off the screen and then popping the window out in one piece with a flathead screwdriver. The robber must have been alerted because he lit out for the woods behind our house as Ron was calling 911. The cops got the Getaway Guy before he left the neighborhood. They did a K-9 search through the woods but didn't find The Rummager or their 42" TV.
The neighbor's place was a mess, especially upstairs, and their kids' rooms were ransacked, but he didn't make off with much beyond their TV (duh, how was he planning to get away inconspicuously with that?). It could have been a lot worse if not for Ron's vigilance and some quick-responding police. We're all really grateful for that.
Ron also checked our house for signs of a break-in and it was thankfully untouched, most likely due to our backyard fence. The next day he even went out into the woods on his own to search for the TV. Miraculously, he found it with hardly a scratch on it behind a fence in the next cul-de-sac over (probably stashed until police activity died down and he could come back for it).
This whole situation made me realize I've got a somewhat false sense of safety in my own home. Not to the point that I leave the doors unlocked even when we're home, but I was definitely in denial that something like that could happen in my suburban family-oriented neighborhood in a nice part of town. It's a hard lesson to learn, but thankfully for us, we got the rude awakening without being directly affected.
We're going to be extra vigilant now, and if you're a bad robber dude casing our house, you might catch us showing some inappropriate affection to our dear, sweet fence. ☺