January 5th, 2008

grand theft our laptops

As Paul stereotype441 mentioned, our house was broken into yesterday afternoon and three laptops were stolen: two of Paul's from upstairs, and one of mine from the basement. It happened sometime between 3:00 and 4:30 p.m. I was over at Farpoint retrieving my bike, which I'd left there, oh, sometime last year. I foolishly failed to lock one of the doors to the house when I left. When I got home, I spent about 20 minutes puttering around the house, getting some food, putting my bike away, checking my messages, and not noticing that my MacBook wasn't where I had left it an hour and a half previously. Nothing seemed amiss in the house. When I finally bothered to look in the direction of the couch, I was terribly confused that my laptop wasn't there. I walked around the house looking for it for another ten minutes, becoming increasingly perturbed. Finally, I walked upstairs and didn't see Paul's iBook or his ThinkPad in the usual places. I called Paul, who made his way home and confirmed that they were missing, then called the police.

It looks like nothing else is gone aside from the three computers. Nothing of Chuan-kai's seems to have been stolen, and to my astonishment, my PowerBook and microphones and recording gear were all still in the living room. (The Book of Power was closed and sitting on top of a pile of audio gear, looking rather stereo-component-y, so maybe it didn't scream out "Hey, I'm a laptop" the way the others might have. Also, both the iBook and the MacBook would have been open and visible through windows. Sigh.) We collected the MAC addresses and serial numbers of the stolen computers, and a police officer came by and took statements from us and wrote down all the information we had.

The officer wouldn't talk to us together; he wanted separate statements from us, possibly to make sure our stories agreed. As it turned out, the thieves left a screwdriver upstairs, which the officer put in an "evidence" bag and took away. The first cop had been optimistic about the possibility of getting fingerprints off a door handle in our house, but later, a different officer with a badge that said "criminalist" came over and gently explained to us why there was no way she would be able to get a decent fingerprint off a door handle. Note to self: for future crime-prevention purposes, have several large, smooth sheets of glass arranged strategically in high-traffic areas around our house. Clean them daily.

The good news: neither of us lost any really important data. This was my work machine; thank goodness we use version control and a bug database at work. I lost a lot of archived sent mail (I keep it all only locally), but I'm not sure what I was planning to do with it, anyway. Luckily, I have the Book of Power mostly set up as a work machine. One 'svn up' and I'm good to go. Well, that and approximately five thousand CPAN modules which I'm installing right now. Paul is having the locks changed at Happy House, and the three of us have decided that our days of leaving the house unlocked have come to an end. It's too bad, because we like having the kind of house where friends can stroll in and make themselves at home, but we're contemplating combination locks and other solutions to that problem.

My gratitude and love to all our friends who came over last night, bearing doughnuts, pizza, and beer. Paul had had a Twin Peaks-watching party planned, and he thought about cancelling it, but it turned out that socialization, food, and friendly faces were exactly what we needed. And also to Alex oniugnip, who patiently listened to me freak out on the phone and who then told me the story of the time his car was stolen at gunpoint and how terrible he felt. I feel much, much better than I did yesterday at 5 p.m. It was a horrible moment when I looked at the couch and saw my laptop missing, but now I actually feel pretty calm. This is not going to throw a wrench in my business trip to San Diego this week, and it's not going to throw a wrench in seeing my friend Emily there, or going running on the beach this weekend. As Will terror_firma would say, "It's almost like friends are more important than things!"