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.
When you get lucky
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