Monday, December 31, 2012

Someone is At the Door


            
 


   We all operate on the illusion, or delusion as the case may be,  that we are safe within our homes. In order to live with a normal blood pressure, go out to work, get groceries, we all find a way to tell ourselves that no one will enter or try to enter our homes while we are away.  Most of us also believe that when we are IN our homes that a forced entry, or home invasion, is even less likely than a break-in when we are away.
                  Tonight, I went to bed early with a toothache.  I found myself up at the laptop computer at 2:45 am when the ibuprofen wore off.  My eldest son who is still recovering from a lightning strike was also up sitting with me. He still has pain and difficulty falling asleep since his ordeal.   We sat whispering quietly in an attempt not to wake up any more of the light sleepers at our house. At 3 am, we heard someone testing the front door. I looked over, and the main handle was locked but the deadbolt above was not.  I raced to flip the deadbolt above. My son flipped it faster than I could. When we had done this, we looked through the peep hole. Whoever it was had gone.
                    Frequently, we hear our dogs in the kennel a walk from the house bark and we usually assume that a possum or a bear is moving through again. Sometimes, our large tom cat stands at our door from the inside and growls.  Because of our remote location, we have a rather advanced security system.  This is a very secluded place with a lot of acreage around us.  It is also surrounded by forest.  There are access gates on the entrances, and so no one without the electronic key can enter with a car.   Whoever tested the door on a terribly cold night was on foot.   Why would they walk up to a house in the middle of the night and test the door ?   All of our family who are over 21 have accessible firearms, and know how to safely use them, and this is common knowledge here as we can often be heard target shooting from the even larger farms in the area.   I don't want to have to shoot a home invader. I don't want blood splattered over my walls or on my oak floors.  I should be able to sit in my house at 3 am with my sore molar and my son while trying to stay quiet so I don't wake my husband who is slated to go to work early the next morning.   My heart raced as someone was outside the door, and for a moment, I wondered if all that adrenaline had pushed me into a-fib.  It did not.  But now, my son and I sit here with two firearms. His semi-automatic slide is racked, and mine is not.  The cat sits staring at the front door. The dogs are barking.  I am comforted by the idea that all the outbuildings are double-locked.  I wonder if I am awake enough to do everything as trained. I shouldn't be afraid in my own home.  I would call the sheriff, but the person is likely long gone and they won't come out in the middle of the night for anything but a "blood crime" anyway. . I'll call them in the morning, and let them know someone was prowling.    In the past year someone locally who entered a house near here was shot to death.   I did not know the neighbor who did it, but I often wonder how it changed their life afterward.    I sit, writing and nervously eying the door.  I don't think there will be any more sleep tonight.
                     Now, it's four am, and our son who came to us through adoption as a teen a couple of years ago is up. He claims to have been awoken by the sound of my typing.  This is improbable.  He pours himself a bowl of cereal and adds milk and starts his day. Perhaps I am not as quiet as I think when up in the night.
                   For someone to walk on foot on this brightly moonlit night, this far off a mountain trail, and this many acres back from a road,  is insanity.  This is what makes it so worrisome.



21 comments:

Matt said...

I am very thankful that you are all ok. As I read this I thought about all the things you could have done, but decided that these were actions based on assumptions that could have gotten you killed or in legal trouble.

You guys handled it correctly for what little that's worth from me.

I hope you can sleep tonight.....

DFW said...

That's very scary Jane. Have you thought about a wireless gate alarm? We have one at both houses, or actaully 2 at the Country House. Tacked to trees at the entrance to the driveway(s) in the Country & closer to the front door in the City. It's up high enough to not be triggered by dogs or other low lying creatures. It beeps inside the house when tripped. Gives us some level of comfort. But, of course we also have our pistols nearby as well.

Rose said...

Jane,

My first thought was why, once you felt they had moved away from the door, you didn't open the door and fire a shot just to let them know you were not only 'on guard' but ready and able to defend your home? Perhaps it wouldn't have been wise, but I think that would have been my response. Either way, I'm soooo glad it didn't interfere with your heart! You're right that you need to report it to the authorities, just in case there IS another incident, you will have a paper trail of what's happened. Hold the fort down! Rose

JaneofVirginia said...

Rose, At first, Adam and I were so incredulous that someone could get past the entry gates, the driveway alarm, the dogs, and then up to the house, that we were shocked. Part of our thinking was that our daughter had, for some reason, come home. (Possibly a heating system failure or break in at her house etc.) I had the sheriff out roday and under these circumstances, he would like us to remain in the house, check all the door locks, and place two rounds in anyone IN the house at 3 am who shouldn't be. The sheriff believes that this is one of the illegal timberers who was walking around last night on someone elses property. The sheriff also said that there have been a lot of very rural casings and quick robberies where they case at night, and rob during the day. We are armed and ready.

JaneofVirginia said...

I have an electronic gate, and a wireless gate alarm. This person came without a car, and apparently through the forest. Illegal timberers were found working during the holiday on an adjacent piece of property and the sheriff believes they camped there all night, and that this is who cased our place. All of the people in our house who are over 21 have pistols and a CWP. Our seventeen year old is skittish and has a mean slingshot with big bbs !

JaneofVirginia said...

The sheriff reiterated today that anyone IN the house gets identified and then is to be the recipient of two doses of 180 gr. of copper and lead, in the torso. Then, we are to holster our weapon and give him a call. It was comforting to be told we could do this by someone other than our CWP instructor. The sheriff also told us that VERY rural homes are being cased at night, and that they are being robbed after 9 am when most people are at work. We have a large family and there is no time in which no one is here. However, that means it becomes a home invasion. We have always put thought into protecting the driveway and the farm roads themselves. We had not given a lot of consideration to someone who might walk through our woods, and find the house. I am considering relocating and rotating some of the larger dogs.

spayneuter yourpets said...

OMG What a horrible feeling. I'm very glad you are all OK.

Sandy said...

Jane,

First let me say, I'm happy to hear you and your family are safe, and no one
entered your home. Having someone sneaking around on your property, trying your door knob is scarey. Thank God, you and your son acted quickly, and you both were prepared if entry was made. The local sheriff said timberers walk around at night casing local homes for potential targets during the day, that means who evers home during the day at your house needs to be alert, lock doors and windows and have some sort of protection either on themselves or close by.

Gorges Smythe said...

Back when my stepson used to deliver pizza, I told him to watch out for crazy people. Mean people can usually still be reasoned with, but you never know what a crazy will do.

JaneofVirginia said...

Thanks so much. I am making sure everyone in farms nearby knows about this.

JaneofVirginia said...

Yes, everyone here is on high alert. I am also making sure that farms around us know about this too. I am considering rotating the larger dogs to different farms areas too.

JaneofVirginia said...

Yes. Years ago in the suburbs, a little crazy man came to our door, and banged on it, and I called the police. The police said, "Oh good, you've found him". In an attempt to brush over the event, the officer told me that the "poor little schizophrenic man was harmless". I told the officer that the man is harmless as long as his delusions aren't telling him that we mean him any harm. When this changes, we are all in danger. I told the officer to keep this man away from my house and my young children, or I would be asking why a poorly controlled schizophrenic is allowed to wander around a neighborhood with lots of small children. Somehow, they did.

Stephen said...

Thank God you're fine. The world, as you well know, is full of nuts. At least this one seemed meek since he fled after a feeble attempt at the door.

JaneofVirginia said...

Thanks Stephen, Now, we are even more alert than before. I had not wanted a double strand row of new barbed wire on the edge of the farm which was illegally being timbered, but now, since the absentee owner wasn't able to stop illegal timbering, I will have the double strands added this week. At least anyone wandering in the dark like that, will be injured. We are pretty sure our prowler came from that trajectory.

lotta joy said...

I'm glad you were awake. Thank god for a toothache. That's the number one problem with a large house. Too many access points.

Not that this will help, but my sister and brother-in-law have had "kidnapping for ransom" threats against their children and the FBI was brought in, armed them to the teeth, and explained that THEY were the first line of defense.

A few months ago a car made it through their gates. They have alarms situated every 20 yards of an approach to their home and Jim grabbed his .44, sneaked down through the property and sneaked up to the driver's window after he had stopped his car.

He asked "Can I help you?" while pointing at the man's head.

The driver nearly passed out from the unexpected shock. The police took 20 minutes to get there.

Short of hosing down the welcome mat with water and hooking it up to an extension cord (joke) all I can think of is more alarms around your perimeter, or an electric fence.

Matt said...

Jane, do you guys have motion detector lights around your compound's perimeter?

I know you can only do so much short or putting up 10 ft fences with razor and no one wants to live like that.

JaneofVirginia said...

The house is not that large. It has 2000 feet above ground and the same below ground but not seen. The design is such that on 50 plus acres, it looks small. There are perimeter lights but this person used an approach that no one has before. We will need to rethink lighting. Glad the FBI was helpful !

JaneofVirginia said...

Matt, We do, but one of them was not on that night, and the man approached from a trajectory we had not considered as fully. Today, I am placing a couple of mega pixel trail cameras in hidden places. We are looking at where additional motion sensor lights could be added. I also plan to place a couple of strands of barbed wire inside the forest that I think this man used to access our property. I had left it alone to allow free passage for the deer and bears. They are smart, and they will find a way to cross when they need to.

A Girl and Her Gun said...

So glad you are safe and this incident did not turn out to be anything more than a "scare". I am glad you are rethinking some f your safety measures like the lights.

I fear we are going to see a lot more testings of the waters. as people get desperate those who are not used to being criminals will dabble at stealing and robbing for money, food, etc. It's worrisome to me.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

What about a camera at the door plus trail cameras that will at least get a look at them. Some people do that around here. The police won't even go after fingerprints, they want the photo. We have castle law in MO, it applies to your property, home and car. We are allowed to shoot but those in other states need to check their laws. Glad you're ok.

JaneofVirginia said...

Thanks Kathy, We are ok. I do have trail cameras but they were placed from the road, past the gates and up the farm road beyond the driveway alarm. We did not allocate funds for people who come through acres and acres of woods to the house from the other direction. The sheriff has a theory on who it was.