A thief in the night

I was woken at 3am by what sounded like a key being turned in the door to our apartment. I sat up. We had left the light on in the bathroom so as to be able to see easily at night, but my view of the door was obscured. I touched my wife to rouse her, and she muttered something about the noise only being the rain. The door unlocking sound continued and then died away. I was in a befuddled state, even when my wife said her bag was missing. It turned out she had left it beside the bed, with her purse inside, covered with her dress. She got out of bed and found the bag by the door. The purse was on the top, open, with the 350 rupees (£17) in notes she had put in it the night before missing but all the coins remaining. I was suddenly alarmed for my own bag, which I had left lying on the floor by the door. It held a veritable treasure trove by comparison – credit cards, a wad of £20 notes and more than 2000 rupees. Thankfully, it was still there, with nothing missing. So was my phone, charging – and illuminated – by the toaster.

The window over the kitchen sink was closed but turned out to be unlocked. The door was also unlocked. I find it hard to reconstruct what must have happened. The thief could have entered via the kitchen window, closing it behind him, and exited through the door, unlocking it first. I could have been woken by the sound of the door being opened and shut as he made his getaway. It’s not inconceivable I omitted to lock the door when I came in the previous evening, so he could have entered and exited that way, though it doesn’t explain the unlocking sound I heard. I certainly didn’t check the kitchen window, though if he came in that way, how he managed to avoid knocking over the glasses in and around the sink, or leave any footprints on the sink rim, I can’t say.

I consider we got off very lightly, and I am eternally grateful the thief failed to notice my bag, so casually left lying in his path, which he must have carefully stepped over, on his way in and out. However, the more we thought about what he had done, creeping over to our bed, where we lay naked, with not even a sheet over us because of the heat, picking up my wife’s bag from the spot where, presumably, most people keep their valuables – as near to them as possible – and dragging it to the door, extracting what notes he could find before leaving, the more uncomfortable we felt. We had been in a unerringly vulnerable position. He could have woken us and threatened us. Or, I could have stirred earlier and seen him creeping along the floor towards us … horror of horrors!

We didn’t sleep so soundly after that, though I made sure every opening was locked before retiring. Often, during the night, I would hear a sudden noise, and sit up, alarmed. I was also very mindful of the fact that during heavy rain – of which there was a lot – the noise of the downpour would have totally obscured even a sledgehammer being used to batter down the door, never mind any feeble cries of alarm we would have been capable of!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *