Finally, I gave up and came downstairs to write.
While my posts are normally on the lighthearted side, you'll find this one to be a bit different. Let me apologize in advance, but I really need to get this out of my head and onto my blog in hopes it will relieve my mind enough for me to catch some z's.
It all started last Thursday.
My assistant maintenance man's last day was the Friday previous. My maintenance man was loaded down with work. The vending machines needed to be filled, and we were short on product. With no time and extra work, the maintenance man needed help, so I offered to go to Sam's and pick up the product for him.
I got to Sam's, browsed around, ate samples for lunch, checked out and went to the company minivan to load up. I still had the company cell phone in hand since I'd called back to ask about a couple of different things I was supposed to buy. The cart was loaded down with pop, chips, and other items. My purse was in the upper basket underneath the box of chips.
I opened the back hatch of the minivan and started loading. I had loaded about three of the cases of pop when I saw a car drive by. The car startled me, because not only did it drive by fairly quickly for a parking lot, but they got so close to me that they knocked the box of chips off the upper basket. I looked up, gave them my best "Be More Careful In The Future!!!" glare, and watched them speed off.
I finished loading the van and closed the hatch. I opened the door to the van, but noticed something was missing.
My purse was gone.
I looked all over the van for it before I realized...the men in the car drove close to my cart and knocked the box of chips off for a reason.
God provided for me in that I still had the company cell phone, and I still had keys to the vehicle. I immediately called the police, and while I was waiting for them I called every credit card, bank and any other number I could think of to report the theft. I learned that even before I reported my credit card as stolen it had been used FOUR DIFFERENT TIMES. McDonald's, a gas station, a cell phone store and an auto parts store were all listed.
AND NOT ONE OF THEM CHECKED MY NAME OR IDENTIFICATION.
The amazing part to me is that I have a very feminine name, yet my card was used four separate times by one of the two young MEN without question. That floors me.
The policeman that took my report had me list all of the items in my purse that were of any value. I honestly did not remember many of them until two days later, and that tells me I carry WAY too much in my purse. I lost gift cards totaling over $120, an MP3 player, and all of my credit/debit/library/driver's licence/Social Security cards. The keys to my personal car were also in there, meaning I had to re-key the car and locks, as well as the house. The checkbooks from our different accounts were among the casualties, and so all of the accounts had to be closed. Medical insurance cards disappeared.
And they got my favorite lipstick.
So what exactly have I learned from all of this? Many things.
- When you are unloading a basket in a parking lot, always take your purse out and put it in the car first. Do not, under any circumstances, leave it in the baby seat of the cart.
- If you DO leave your purse in the baby seat, back the cart into the car and unload it that way. At least the purse will be closer to you and not out where it can be grabbed.
- Whenever possible, don't carry a purse. Take a debit card and driver's license in with you. Leave the purse at home.
- Never carry your Social Security card with you. Keep it in a lockbox at home or some other safe place.
- Same with checkbooks. Did you know someone can take the routing number and account number off of your checks and use them to purchase items on the internet? Didja? I didn't, at least not until now.
- Carry your keys and cell phone in your hand. In case of emergency you'll be glad you did.
- Never underestimate the jerks of this world. You may live a very safe town, but jerks can always visit to ruin things. Trust me, I know. Before this happened, I was known to not even lock the car when I left it. Silly, silly me.
- If you are ever a victim, call the police immediately. The sooner you call, the more likely some of your belongings will be recovered. (This was not so in my case.) The policeman said oftentimes thieves will drive to a dumpster in the area and get rid of everything they don't want.
- Immediately call credit card companies, banks, and send a fraud alert to all of the major credit bureaus. If you call one, the other two will be notified. The fraud alert is good for 90 days, and lets all potential creditors know they need to get positive identification before giving credit.
This little public service announcement has been what's been keeping me up nights. I keep thinking of the "what if?" questions. What if they'd actually accosted me in the parking lot instead of driving by? What if they'd had a gun? What if I hadn't volunteered to help out? What if I'd been more observant and less stupid?
And the questions, they go on and on.
Here's what I'm thankful for:
- God provided the phone and the keys.
- He kept me safe.
- Nothing in my purse was irreplaceable.
- All of it is covered by insurance.
- People were more than willing to help me in my distress.
- I have an outlet for the angst I feel...in you.
Thank you, Gentle Reader, for allowing me this letting off of steam. Now, go kiss your family and tell them you love them, then go to bed.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.