Steve Schappell-My Blog

Sunday, June 19, 2016


I consider myself a relatively safe person, and take a common sense measures, like locking doors, and understanding my surroundings.  Things were different when I was young.  I remember riding my bike in the summer, going to the local park in Hamburg for games, or the pool.  I was told to be home in time for dinner.  That was it.  I don't remember if we always locked our doors.  I know my parents cars were parked in a garage and the side door was locked at night.  We knew our neighbors, and looked out for each other.

Today, we live in an ever connected world, and are more disconnected than ever.  We used to sit on our front porches and talk with our neighbors.  Now we have fenced in back yards and outdoor patios for privacy.

I know that is not the case with everyone, and where we live, we know our neighbors on our town home unit.  For example, we have one set of neighbors watch our dog and cat when we are away.

This was the case when we were away last weekend at the shore for a long weekend vacation.  We took (2) vehicles and left my car behind.  Normally, I lock my car at night, but not always.  We always lock our house front and back.

Now, our campsite had wi-fi, and we were checking emails, Facebook, etc.  On Saturday, we started seeing comments about cars being broken into around our area.  One of the posts included the street we live on.

Here is where I insert that phrase, "Pride goeth before a fall."  I remember thinking that, "well, I locked the car.  And even if they get in, there are going to see some christian CD's, a booklet on the constitution.  We took our GPS and I don't leave money in the car.  I was concerned for others, but not for myself.  I though this could not happen to me.

We don't think about it for the rest of the weekend.  We drove back Monday night and got home to unload some of our items.   I got my GPS and phone charger out of our van, went to unlock the car, and "boom."  It was unlocked.  Inside, the glove box was opened, and the contents on the passenger , seat.  My center console was open also.  I checked and there was nothing missing.  I put everything back and realized that I was also one of those vehicles listed in the news.

I felt violated.  Someone was in my car and I don't know who they are.  Someone went through my items.  I was one of those people, the "It can't happen to me" person.  I realized my words over the weekend.  How I thought to myself, "Sorry for you.  That's what can happen when you leave your car unlocked."

Later on, I called the police to add my name to the list.  The officer said the MO was the same.  All victims had unlocked cars, and they were looking for money.  There was a news article online that said it was (2) 17-year olds who got into over 38 vehicles.  They were caught at Wal-Mart early Saturday morning.  They got into the cars on Friday night.

My lesson learned was not to think more of myself than I ought to.  Also, to keep my car unlocked.  Even though, it was on a small scale, I still felt violated in some way, and that stuck with me.  Next time, I will think differently and remember that it can happen to me.

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