Ever had something stolen from you?
Something happened early Monday morning at our compound. A sports bike was stolen from my neighbor’s gate at around 3 am. I am aware of akyat-bahay gangs but never did I imagine that I will be a victim. Well, it’s not really me and the item was not really my friends’ Ying and Marco’s property. A friend of theirs’ asked to have his expensive bike be parked there for the meantime while he’s on a trip. I’m just almost a victim because it was stolen right under our noses. As in the thieves were less than 20 meters from where my friend Aileen and I were seated.
At 12:00 midnight, Ying went to our house, together with her dog Chewey, for our regular midnight chika. My boys were already asleep and she just got home. At around 3 AM, the dog went to our door and started barking. Ying just told Chewey to stop and be quiet. I heard the sound of a gate being opened thinking it was Marco. At such hours, I’m used to still hearing or seeing him outside to meet some of our neighbors. We didn’t notice anything unusual.
And then after around 10 or 15 minutes, Marco called for Ying and said the bike was stolen.What?! We hurried outside and saw that the gate was opened. I couldn’t believe it! Our next-door neighbors have been robbed while we were busy exchanging life stories. How did it happen?? Their lights were turned on, the car was parked outside, and our light inside the house was also turned on. It was obvious that people were still awake and yet the thieves were able to destroy the gate and get the bike. They even tried to open the main door. Fortunately, nothing was stolen from inside.
Marco, Aileen’s better half and the trusted, go-to guy in our compound, heard the sound of their gate. He thought it was Ying finally coming home. After a while, he realized no Ying came up and asked wondered what could be taking her so long. It was really weird. And then he saw the door was wide open, went out to see the bike gone, and the main gate which they don’t usually open, also wide open.
After calling us, Marco called the Barangay Tanod guys he knows and within a few minutes, they came. They tried to survey the area for the thieves with a black bike but to no avail. Perhaps they’ve already gotten away or have hidden somewhere near. We don’t know. The bike was never recovered. They even asked the nearby gas station if someone tried to have his bike tires vulcanized because the tires wire flat.
I woke up my husband Joshua to share the news. He was completely shocked. I asked him to come down but he couldn’t leave the baby. I just gave him his phone (just in case something happens) as I will be staying outside with my friend.
Ying and I checked how it happened. We were able to figure it out. I’m not going to illustrate how because it’s kind of difficult. The thieves didn’t destroy anything except for the tiny metal welded on top. They were clearly experts. They could be surveying the gate and the bike days before. These were no amateurs I tell you because one won’t be able to figure out how to open the gate unless he’s seen it a dozen times.
And the time of the crime? Man, I got scared thinking they could be watching our moves. You see, being the night owls that we are, we are still up and very much alive at those hours. The thieves were probably watching us: Ying went inside our house with the dog and since Chewey was known to be a mean barker, the thieves took the opportunity. The sound of the gate they’d be producing was normal. And the probability that we (my friend and I) would hear something but think it was just the neighbors…etc.
I stayed with my friend inside their house for a while. My husband couldn’t get back to sleep and was bothered so he went outside to check on us.
We were shocked. We couldn’t stop analyzing what just happened. We were thankful though that nothing happened to us and that only the bike was stolen.
I went home and tried to sleep at 5am but it took me an hour. Joshua stayed downstairs.
The next day, we could hear their gate being fixed. As for us, we started to use the padlock again. Between me and my husband, I’m the one who’s more OC checking on the doors, locks, and windows but since that incident, Joshua checks the gate before going to sleep. He even wants to buy a baseball bat just so we’d have something to hit the thieves or whoever with. Just in case…
We’ve learned a few lessons:
1. Make sure the gate has padlock or is chained. Even if you live in a gated village, you’ll never know when crooks would strike. For a few years, Josh and I live inside a very secure village in Makati. We were not used to locking our gates and doors because it was that secure. I guess it was never a habit for us.
From my husband: When it comes to a non-gated village, always assume the worst in people outside your house.
2. Even if there are chains or padlock, always lock the door! Another bike was inside the house and the thieves could have stolen that one too. Plus there’s a mobile phone and a netbook somewhere. The thieves opened the door perhaps to steal some more stuff but maybe they heard footsteps and the dog barking so they went away fast.
From my husband: You can never be too safe with padlocks and chains. When in doubt, use more.
3. Never under estimate the power of a dog barking at ungodly hours. The dog was barking near our door but we simply dismissed it. Who knew really that Chewey was sensing something strange. We were too confident that night. Or maybe just so into our chat. Some people would immediately say it’s annoying but a dog only barks that way when something is wrong or strange.
Husband: Get a good guard dog– a noisy and loud guard dog.
And some more from him:
Learn to defend yourself, just in case. A baseball bat might be your best friend.
The best burglars come when you least expect them.
The smart thief steals when you’re not at home. The brilliant thief steals when you’re at home.
We’re okay though. Thank God that we weren’t harmed. I wasn’t really worried because the item stolen wasn’t theirs or ours. But the fact that they came even when we’re home and awake, somehow scared me.
Some people may worry about our security where we live but please don’t. Asking us to move into a gated village or a condo won’t help. I believe that there is not one place in this city where one is too safe. Crimes happen wherever, whenever. To anyone. Young and old alike. The rich or the poor.
The only safe place I know is in the arms of Christ.
And with these verses from the Bible I close:
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. – Psalm 18:2 (NLT)
The Lord will always keep me from being harmed by evil, and he will bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. Praise him forever and ever! Amen. – 2 Timothy 4:18 (CEV)
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. – 2 Thessalonians 3:3 (NIV)
Photo By: Jonno Witts