Friday, March 04, 2005

Security Breach, Intruder

Someone, now thankfully in the strong arms of Men and Women in Blue with guns, made their way past the locked outer door of the apartment building my wife and I live in, and using a key, entered our place last Saturday. Thankfully no ransacking occurred; our meager televisions were not taken; my Lie-Nielsen #4 Smoothing Plane untouched; wife's cameo (a gift from me) unmolested; the Smith my father carried with him flying F6-F's off Okinawa in 1945, safely locked up; nor this computer. (Renter's insurance, very cheap, would have reimbursed to be sure. I am glad not to learn at what percent). What, then, was taken? Checks. Paper with names, numbers, and magnetized ink.

The odd buys and charges broke the surface this morning: Electronic Check, Arby's; Electronic Check,Pdq; Electronic Check, Food & Fuel; and swelled up to several hundred dollars. My wife stalled in a wave of "Huh?". She hauled up some copies of the phony checks, coughed out a few more "huhs?", and quickly transferred all the money from the breached account to another. On the bank statement it said: "For inquiries, call 1-800-... She called. "For balance inquiries, press 1. For loan infomation, press 2. To report a fraud push 3" She pushed 3.

The merchants will suffer the losses, run aground by poor ID checking habits, or boarded by too-well-made phony IDs. The bank's losses ended when we closed all acounts, all accounts. None left drifting on a theft we've not spotted. We almost spotted the entry; it wasn't really a break-in, it was entry. The lock just didn't click, unlocking last Saturday. Odd. We have two cats. Wet-food lunch served on Saturdays not too long after the quiet click I wasn't puzzling over yet. "Toto! Lisette! Who wants lunch?" We ask that as a joke; they'd eat like hobbits if we let them, well, Lisette would. "Lisette!...where is Lisette?" Begining to softly fret now . Mewing, muted. "She's on the back balcony!" "How did she get out there?" A rush to get her inside! "Odd, the board's not in the door. Did I leave the door open when I grabbed the trash, Lisette dash out unnoticed, and forget to board it up?" When we saw the open closet door in the bedroom, the uneasy feelings rolled in, like mild food poisoning starting. What? How? Nothing missing, yet something amiss, and displayed this morning on the screen. The Police, (bless them, St. Paul's Finest, they and that other band of Men and Women with the appaloosa dogs); the police suggest their suspect is a professional, taking things not noticed too quickly. We certainly did not, although the woman in #210 saw the missing laptop soon enough, and the missing five years of schoolwork vanished with it. Value in money? grief? sweat?

The Fraud Branch of the Bank is sending their "Fraud Packet" to fill out and have notarized at the bank. And when the merchants' letters begin drifting towards us, a few at a time, hopefully not in floods, we'll send them the form from the "Fraud Packet". In polite dry words it will probably say, "You wuz robbed". Some will cover their losses with insurance, (thereby spreading the cheat thinly over us all), others will get that food poisoning feel below the gut. I don't know what the thief will get. The Police believe they've got the right guy. He was caught early this morning with, the police said, "Stuff". It wasn't told to me but the apartment manager, and, I like to imagine, spoken with a little smile. Telling what the "stuff" is, without saying what the stuff is. Probably my checks.

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