Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

September 2, 2009

Who can it be now?

2009 has easily been the worst year of my life, the worst year of Brian's life and the worst year of our marriage. Among the general stressors of Brian being out of work for over a year and not having health insurance and a couple of incidents we had this spring and summer, I have been dealing with crushing stress at work. The clients have been absolutely horrible to us. Very, very angry and abusive people. Small wonder their marriages crumble after only a few years. Then of course my being booted off Facebook for over 2 weeks was, I thought, the final nail in the 2009 coffin. I mean, how much worse can it get?

I was wrong.

Besides all of the above, in June, there was a "smash and grab" at my office. Someone came up the back stairs and smashed thru the window of our new attorney's office, and snatched her computer and monitor off her desk. Since times are hard and this is a common occurrence these days, we figured it was drug addicts looking for an easy target like a dark stairway of an office complex that is empty all night.

Then in mid-July, I got a call from my coworker, Deb, on a Saturday, telling me that she'd debated whether or not to tell me, but decided she had to. Our office had not only been targeted again, but this time, they cleaned us out. Computers, monitors, fax machine.....they smashed 2 of the printers to bits on the floor. They took the art off the walls, all of my boss' suit jackets out of the antique armoire, and his little $9 dictation recorder off his desk. They also took my oscillating fan and Deb's magnifying glass. However, they did not take real things of value, like all of the antiques and first edition books in my boss' office. Just the dictation recorder. None of our personal items were stolen or ruined, except the fan and the magnifying glass.

This second buglary devastated our office. So in the days following that robbery, we sunk tens of thousands of dollars into an alarm system with flashing strobes outside and motion sensors inside, all new computers & monitors, all the new software, a new fax machine, etc. We had 3 steel bars installed over the window where the first smash & grab occurred, and we had several very bright lights installed in back that have motion sensors on them as well. All things considered, we were up and running fairly quickly, but it's been a long, hard road back. Many documents and forms had to be rebuilt. Our computer guy was able to recover data through May 31, 2009, so I guess only having to recover 2 months' worth of data isn't that bad, but still.

It's crystal clear that someone is really, really pissed off at one of us. We've kicked around various names as possible suspects, but really, it could be anyone. But who? He thought maybe it's someone from "the internet", which I think was a shot at me because of my Facebooking. But my profile is set to private so only my friends can see it. It used to be set so that my network could see it as well, but I changed the settings several months ago. I don't have that many friends within my network anyway, and those who are my Tacoma-area Facebook friends are people with whom I have been acquainted for over a year, and/or fellow Hatchlings players. I really do not think it's anyone connected with my Facebooking at all. He intimated in July that he was distressed that I put up a status when a client had gone off on me on the phone and then trashed me in an email. But I told my boss that my status said, "Joanne M. Wolf does not get paid enough to deal with the kind of abuse I just took from a client. Bastard made me cry." No names, no locations, no details....just that a client made me cry. I think that's one of the reasons that he insisted on a new server that blocks all social networking sites. Which is fine.....I was spending more time on FB at work than I was supposed to anyway.

The second burglary was very much designed to hurt our business. And it's someone who has to have intimate knowledge of the layout of our office and our personal lives. Why leave all of my boss' antiques and stuff but take his suit jackets and dictation recorder? Why take my fan? Does the person know that I'm always hot and need to use a fan all the time? Why take Deb's magnifying glass? Do they know that she has vision problems and can't see very well?

We were recovering as best we can and thought we had put this all behind us and were moving on. Till today.

I arrived at my office and noticed the back door was wide open. At first, I thought....I hoped.... maybe my boss was unloading some more cases of copy paper. Then I saw the splintered piece of wood under the stairs. My exact reaction was, "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME????????" I blazed up the stairs and inside, but fortunately nothing was missing this time. The alarm must've scared them off. But the new steel door is completely ruined. The new jamb and all of the super large bolts and screws are torn up and/or shattered. The deadbolt strike plate was ripped right out of the wall and the hinges were torn off as well.

Who the fuck is doing this to us? The Fircrest PD is absolutely useless, although they do think that some kind of battering ram was used on this door, versus someone kicking it in like the last time. And because my boss opted not to pay for the alarm monitoring, no one showed up when the alarm went off. None of the people in the apartments behind our building called it in. And I found out today that the alarm only blasts for 3-5 minutes before automatically shutting off. So what is the damn point? It's clear that the new door and bright lights are not going to deter this person from continuing to harass us. And the police have not indicated if they are going to assign any detectives to look into why we are being targeted and by whom. If only Detective Bobby Goren could look into it. lol

Now we have to pay for a surveillance camera and a second steel door with a steel frame. I am pushing hard for a gate as well. It's the only way to keep someone out. But now I am also afraid that the perp is going to be so angry that they aren't getting to us, that the next thing will be a fire. The steps to the two back doors are wooden. It wouldn't take much to douse them w/ an accelerant and strike a match.

I did suffer some PTSD this morning, but I am not quitting. I will not let this person's actions intimidate me. I am hoping that my boss doesn't decide that we should move the office elsewhere. I remain uneasy, but hopeful that this was the last time we get hit.

8 comments:

  1. Let's hope the bastard has an argument with a truck and loses.

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  2. Wow! I'm so sorry to hear that you're going through all of this. It sounds like it really, really sucks. Well, just be careful!

    Is there any chance that it's just kids vandalizing the place? Especially, if they aren't taking the "real" valuables. We had a problem like this when I was a teen-ager, and it turned out to just be bored teenagers.

    In any case, I hope that they catch whoever it is!

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  3. It may not make you feel any better, but over in the UK, this shit happens too. The (listed) building my friend works in is a large old house in it's own grounds. They've had everything repeatedly stolen, including the lead off the roof! They've employed security guards, put in cameras, automatic gates, bars on the windows, locking metal gates behind the doors to each floor, yet STILL the sons of bitches manage to get in, and of course, they know everything the took previously (computers et al) will have been replaced so they can help themselves all over again. Last time, they even took the entrance gates!!

    As the old saying goes, don't let the bastards grind you down.

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  4. I did assume that the first break in, thru the window, was probably done by kids, b/c some other businesses got hit that night too.

    But the last 2 breakins, there's no way. If it was kids, they wouldn't take stupid stuff like my fan & Steve's suit jackets. I am convinced that we are being targeted specifically. Whoever it is wants us out of business.

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  5. Sorry things are not going well with you right now. I know it's very common that once a break in occurs they come back again the 2nd or 3rd time because they know you're going to replace the stuff they stole with new stuff. So they return to get the new stuff. It's happened where I worked as well several years ago. Hang in there.

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  6. I think Val said it best!!

    I'd have put the first one down to kids too, but the other break-ins sound much too personal :-(

    take care!!

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  7. Ohhh (((Jojo))) how horrible. I would be a total nervous wreck.

    (((hugz)))

    I would vote for moving the office to an office park with its own security. Sounds like some unstable whack job who is seriously pissed off. This sounds to me like a disgruntled plaintiff/defendant thing to me. Is he a divorce attorney? One was famously HELD HOSTAGE here some decades ago, by his own client!

    Sending my best Deadhead vibes to you!

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  8. as diane says it happens here all the time too - I remember so many times my husband being called out in the night because the alarm was going; everyone has steel shutters now and cctv

    hope the police catch the perps

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