We all own stuff. This stuff ranges from keepsakes to necessities; from toys to tools; from functional to trivial; and all areas in between. We might even be robbed at work! We have prizes from the Little League championship game or that stuffed animal our kid absolutely loved. We earned the money to buy things and we put a lot of ourselves into our belongings. What happens when those belongings are stolen?
What is a robbery, exactly?
According to a friend of mine who works in the police force, robbery is defined as when you personally give over your possessions to a thief under threat of harm. This is your basic mugging.
When you’re talking about houses getting broken into and your possessions removed, that is called a burglary. This is reminds me of that movie Home Alone (though that kid really should have gone to the authorities immediately).
You’re robbed! What do you do?
The most common sense approach to this is to give the robber what he wants. Be respectful, make no sudden movements and let him have your wallet and whatever else he wants. Let him leave, and then find a phone (or your cellphone if he didn’t take it) and call 911. Try to remember details of what he or she looked like in order to give a complete report.
After you’ve discussed the incident with the police; go home and call your bank, your cell phone company, and whatever other important items you had on you. For example if you’re wearing jewelry – wedding ring, diamond necklace, or anything that you have insurance on, you need to call them to report the theft.
- Call your insurance agent if you need to.
- Call the bank and tell them your debit card has been stolen. Put a stop on any purchases after this date. They will probably have a fraud division to report to.
- Stop any credit cards.
- Replace your driver’s license (this will take a visit to the DMV, filling out an application for a duplicate driver’s license, a form of original ID such as passport or birth certificate, and of course a fee. This may vary depending on what state you live in, so make sure you get clear directions at the DMV).
- Most of all, take the time to pray and give this up to God. He loves you and will help you through this time. Read the Psalms!
Your house is burgled! What do you do?
You come home and the house is broken into. What do you do?
First thing to do is to call the police. Don’t enter the premises if possible, because my policeman friend tells me that if you can preserve the crime scene the best you can, this allows the investigators to figure out what happened. You’ll need to file a police report. This is not a TV show, so don’t expect a quick solution or capture. They will want a description of the items stolen (more on this later).
After a few days call the officer who is in charge of the investigation (or whoever they assign to you as a point of contact). Ask them if there’s any more information they need or if they have a suspect that you could help find information about. Remember that the thieves may use pawn shops and your goods might start showing up. If you can find your belongings, report it to the police and that will greatly help the investigation.
- If you are insured, then you need to call your agent to report a theft.
- If you have gathered pictures, video, and serial numbers and have them on file, this will be helpful for both the police and the insurance.
- Pull out any saved receipts for any type of repair you have done for the house – this may be insurable. Check your policy to find out.
- Get insurance! This includes renter’s or home owner’s insurance, fire, and theft.
- Prepare your house by planting thorny or thick bushes underneath windows (thieves don’t like to get all scratched up).
- An alarm system or a video camera setup can help, though a large scary animal (think velociraptor-like) may be a better deterrent.
- Motion lights really help as well. The dark is a friend to those who don’t want their actions seen.
- Safes are good, but make sure you bolt them to the floor so they can’t be moved, or your burglar could simply take the unbolted safe home with him and open it at his leisure.
- Taking pictures and capturing your items on video will help both the police and the insurance adjustor. Make sure the serial numbers are recorded, as well as any scuffs or marks that may identify the object.
And the last item is so important I will copy it directly from my friend: “Never confront a burglar on your own. Your stuff is not worth dying over. And don’t shoot first and ask questions later. If your stuff is not worth dying over, then it is not worth killing over either.”
Remember, this is all stuff. Your stuff, even if everything has been taken, can be replaced. Your life or the lives of your family can’t be. Don’t put so much value on your stuff that a robbery or a burglary causes you to go into an emotional tailspin. Yes, you’ve been violated, but everything on this earth is temporary. Remember that and put your trust and your hope in Jesus and the eternal treasures we have.
I will leave you with Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV):
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Have you been stolen from? What did you do? Are there any other steps to do in this unfortunate occurrence? Leave a comment below!