Thursday, November 20, 2008


I haven't quite figured it out, but for some reason, I am "tested" whenever Rick is gone. Usually someone becomes sick. It shouldn't have come as a big surprise when the doorbell rang Monday night. But, it was 12:47 am, technically already Tuesday, I guess. And when I hesitated trying to stir myself from grogginess, it rang again. And then the pounding on the front door started and so did the pounding in my heart. I quickly reassured Nolan who had crawled in bed with me earlier and went to the front door. I saw the flashing lights as I flipped on the outside light which instantly illuminated a police officer. He asked if this was the residence of Robert Westra and was he my husband. No, I responded, with a quick sigh of relief. They must have the wrong house. But the officer wasn't turning to leave. He asked again. I shook my head no, that is not his name. He did take a small step back, and then asked, but is he a photographer? Oh shoot, I thought... my thoughts now beginning to race.

Yes I answered. His name is Rick, and I just talked to him and he is FINE. He is away on business. Yes, the officer replied. But his office has been broken into. OHHHHHHHHH.... crap. Not again.

Now this I understood. It was just weeks before that someone had broken in and taken a couple thousand dollars and an ipod from his office. I always thought the combination of those two items was telling of the robber. The officer asked if I could come with him. The place was a mess and what they needed to know was, what was missing. I quickly told him I was alone with the kids and that both Rick and his parents were traveling, no I couldn't leave. So we did the next best thing. He put me on his cell phone and I talked to the one of the officers there on the "scene." The robbers had apparently not only pried open one lock, but all three of the new locks installed on the doors. There were pictures taken off the walls, paper strewn everywhere, wires everywhere. But as the officer walked from room to room describing what he saw, the seemingly valuable things, were still there. We talked by phone several times that early morning. I called and woke Rick and in between talking to the officers, Rick and I talked.

Our conclusion? Really, the only thing missing? Was the SAFE. The now famous safe, I might add, made famous by the robbers who in their haste to get it out of the building, put it on an office chair and wheeled it out until they hit the slant in the sidewalk outside. It then hit the curb and flipped off the chair and crashed spilling the contents out into the street!!!

And here is where our luck began to change. Rick has gotten more savvy. While the safe did contain some memorabilia and family heirlooms, there was NO MONEY in the safe. In fact there was no money in the office. The next lucky part was all of the commotion that was created by the two men was heard by neighbors who then called into the police. And lastly, in an odd way, it is lucky that Rick was gone. Because he took all of his camera gear with him and didn't leave it behind in the office.

I had originally planned to keep this story to myself. But, to the delight of our children, the local news channel ran a story on the event. The boys in their excitement tried to call their father who was already being inundated with phone calls. Word has spread quickly.

The news reported that the burglary was "interrupted" by the fast thinking of "neighbors" who called police and reported they saw two men attempting to wheel the safe down the sidewalk. The pictures in the story, are of Rick's business, Remember When Printing and Publishing, and THE SAFE. This safe has been in Rick's family for many years. It has followed us as we've moved from house to house and office to office. Its a backbreaker of a safe and yet because Rick has such an attachment to it, it has always had a place in our home. Its actually pretty fitting that the safe was the feature of the story on the news. It has always been a "pain" for us to move and it turns out that was its saving grace in stopping the thieves!

Now when the officers relayed the sequence of events to me they had told me there was nobody at the scene when they arrived. They did however have suspects. There have been many other break-ins reported in the area of the office.

Late yesterday afternoon, Rick called with THE BIG NEWS! The police had brought the suspects in based on the fact there were now witnesses. And the young men had CONFESSED to the crime!!! They even admitted taking the money the first time. They also admitted to other crimes in the area!

Yea for the Moorhead Police Department! Yea for the tennants of our office building! Yea for the neighbors that called the police! And yes, yea for the safe!

Rick is on his way back from his business trip now. He will probably have to appear in court. We're anxious to see the details. The newspaper ran a short story today, but didn't yet have news of the arrests. I am sure there will be more to the story. But for now we've actually gotten a lot of closure. I hope this all made sense. I'm a little short on sleep, but I am breathing a big sigh of relief.


  1. Fortunately all of you are safe and no one was hurt - just the safe. That is great news about catching the thieves - hopefully they will have to make restitution to you for the valuables that were taken. It is terrible to not be able to be safe and secure in your own home/office in this world - hopefully this will bring some closure and a lesson that crime does not pay!

  2. That's a little too much stress for you all! Thankfully the ending is "happy" in a way. They caught someone!
    I did hear that story last night on the news too.
    Keep us posted, and I am glad, again that no one was hurt!

  3. "Crime does not pay." EXACTLY what I was thinking. And yes, the sense of violation is probably the worst part of it. But really, could you ask for a better outcome? I am trying to now have compassion for the two guys involved and their families. What is now bringing closure for us is undoubtedly causing much turmoil on their part. Whether its deserved or not, isn't for me to decide or say. You never know what caused them to make the choices they did. Time will tell.

  4. Thank you Bonnie. I have a great admiration for people like Thad who do what they do, daily. And so many times cases go unsolved. Really, we have a lot to be thankful for.

  5. HOLY COW!!! Vicky, that is so intense! I have to say I am so relieved that they are caught ... because after getting hit the second time my mind would have been racing wondering if it was the same people and how often they would have come back. I agree that the feeling of being violated would be the worst part; and it makes me wonder what these people could have needed so badly that they would do that to others.

    I've seen shows where the robbers said they figured everything would be replaced by insurance anyway and that was their way of justifying their feeling of entitlement, but what I don't think they always realize is that they take your sense of security and well being with them as well.

    I'm so glad this seems to be over for you and you all are safe (including the safe) :)

  6. Vicky, I'm gonna second that HOLY COW!
    What a wonder that they confessed! I'm also so happy Rick had all his camera equipment with him.
    This looks to have a happy ending~

  7. Thank you Sara. I will admit there was a small part of me that thought for a little while that the knocking at the door may be a sort of surprise ambush by those same people, that somehow they found our address. I really took my time going to the door!

    And can I say how blessed I am to have a best friend as an attorney! She took my call instantly yesterday even though she had a client coming and she wasn't feeling well. She as well pointed out the insurance aspect.

    LOL, and the safe is bruised, but yes, "safe."

  8. Robin, now you see why seeing all the Christmas cheer on your blog filled me so much today! It was exactly what I needed!

  9. I just got home from the dentist and while waiting I caught an article on this. I didn't realize it was YOU! I'm glad you are all safe and hopefully all the drama will leave you alone now!

  10. Thank you Heather, You're so sweet!


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