Tag Archives: thievery

They Came in through the Bathroom Window

This is the sequel I never wanted to write.

As some of you may remember, my apartment was broken into when I was living in Bologna, and many things were taken.

Well, it’s happened again.

Last week after work, I got a call from my landlord. “Come home now – all of the other apartments in your building have been broken into and we need to know if yours was hit too. The police are already there.”


I’m pretty sure I made every wrong turn possible during the quick drive to my apartment, as scenes from the last time this happened replayed in my head. At least you had forewarning this time, I kept telling myself. At least the police are already there.

When I walked past the 3 police cars parked in front of my building and in the door, everything looked deceptively normal. Maybe everything would miraculously be OK after all.


As soon as I walked into the main room, I saw an empty case where my computer had been. Then I looked up and saw the giant mess in my bedroom. It looked like a cyclone had ripped through.

And there was a draft from the wide-open bathroom window.

Trying to fight back tears as several policemen watched me frantically sift through the wreckage, I began to get a sense of what was missing. I didn’t even have time to be embarrassed that my underwear was all over the floor.

I lost my computer and charger, an iPad, several pairs of headphones, and my favorite gold backpack. They even emptied my piggy bank and took all of my pennies (although – creepily – they sorted through and left behind the few Euro coins & Polish złoty I had in there).

Just as important as what was taken, though, was the inventory of what they left behind. Unlike the Italian thieves, these ones left my jewelry, my backup drives, my camera, and my passport (so I get to go to Ireland after all!). They also left an old iPhone, my speakers, and my Internet router and modem. So there is a lot to be thankful for.

The next several hours were spent making statements to the police, digging my makeup out of the snow where it had landed after being thrown from the window, and trying to stay out of the way.

My neighbors and I retreated to an upstairs apartment, where we popped cheap beers, ordered pizza, and traded phone numbers and stories about past break-ins. Occasionally a policeman would come in to ask a question, collect a DNA sample, or pass out contact info.

As always, it could have been much worse. No one was hurt (including the 3 cats that live in my building), my passport was spared, and I bonded with my neighbors. Also, unlike in Italy, when my room was the only one touched, this time I was the lucky one. The lock on my bathroom window was broken, but my landlord nailed it shut that evening. My neighbors had to contend with broken glass and kicked-in doors that will take much longer to fix.

Plus, the thieves made it very easy for me to come up with a title for this post.

Here’s to hoping this is the last time I ever have to write a post like this. Although, as they say: “Nothing bad can happen to a writer. Everything is material.”

At least there’s that.

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