Saturday, July 18, 2009

My Neighborhood Isn't Fun Anymore

Would any of you mind if I vent for just a minute? I need to get something off of my chest so I can move on. It's been eating at me for a week now and I really need to let it go. So maybe if I write about it I can do that. Move on, I mean. Cause really, I am losing way too much sleep over this issue. The problem?

Little Man lost his bike to a thief last week. It has kind of put a damper on our summer. The bike was in our yard, up by the front porch and it was taken during daylight hours in between his trips back and forth to his friends' houses.

At first, I was kind of angry with Little Man, because truthfully? I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner. He leaves his stuff out overnight all of the time. He is really not good about putting his scooter, bike or skateboard back in the garage when he's done.

But then I realized that he was in the process of his playtime and riding back and forth all afternoon. He had no reason to think that some idiot would walk up on our lawn and take his bike in the middle of the afternoon! We live in a relatively safe neighborhood and we've never really had a problem with people stealing around here. In fact, one of the neighbor kids leaves his bike in various spots around the neighborhood for days at a time without anyone even looking at it funny.

So it was a little shocking to think someone was brazen enough to step into my yard and steal something in broad daylight! And then I went from shocked to outright pissed off. Yes, Little Man does need to learn to put his stuff away and yes, this is going to be a tough lesson for him, but dang it! The bike was up in our yard! It wasn't on the sidewalk or in the middle of the street, it was in our yard and it was the middle of the day and what kind iof person just strolls up into someone else's yard and snags a kid's bike?!

Well, we had some leads. We called the police. Problem is, I never wrote down the serial number. There's only so much the police can do now. So far no one's talking. One thing all of the neighborhood moms and dads did notice as they were helping us look for the bike is that there seem to be a lot of bikes that have been spray painted white among a certain group of teenagers in the area. Weird. Do we have a bike chop shop in the hood? It also became apparent that there are lots of interesting relationships between families in our neighborhod that I was not aware of. Two of the families I thought I knew fairly well swore up and down that they knew who took the bike and they went so far as to tell me that they actually saw the kid on the bike several times.

The kid they were accusing is fairly new in the neighborhood and a few other parents had told me they've been having problems with the new family too, so the policeman and I went over to try to see if there was any truth to what we were being told. There wasn't. I was extremely embarrassed. The poor kid was embarrassed. The parents were very understanding and showed me the bike he was riding. It was NOT EVEN CLOSE to Little Man's bike, of which the accusers had seen a picture, so they KNEW this kid's bike was not the one we were looking for. The parents let the policeman search the yard and garage while they explained that the 2 families that had accused their son had recently started a major fight with their kids and had caused this family all kinds of problems since they had moved in. Great. Now I'm involved in the neighborhood drama!

So...I apologized, made some new friends and we all moved on. But still no bike. I offered a small reward, but still nothing. The neighborhood teenagers, 2 of which are kids of the 2 families that misdirected me, are suddenly very quiet around me and go to great lengths to avoid me. I have a feeling they know who took the bike. But I'm pretty sure I will never find out. The bike is gone and that's that. So are my good feelings toward some of my neighbors now and that makes me sad. My neighborhood doesn't feel the same anymore. I am constantly policing the area and always asking the kids who ride bikes in the desert by my house what they are doing. I don't feel like my kids can play out in the front yard and run in for a few minutes to get a drink and cool off without us having to worry about what's going to disappear. And I hate living like that. I hate not being able to trust the people who live around me.

Now most of the neighborhood is on alert and everyone tells me they share the same disappointment. We didn't think we lived in one of THOSE kind of neighborhoods where you always have to worry about people messing with your stuff. Apparently we do have to worry. Our neighborhood has lost its innocence. I guess it was just a matter of time. It just makes me mad. And sad.

The only good thing to come out of this is that Little Man is now psychotic about putting his stuff away. So I guess I should be glad for that.


The Sports Mama said...

Well that sucks.

Bug's bike, scooter and skateboard all go missing at least once a week. We know who it is who generally does it, and it always ends up back in front of our house, but that doesn't make it any better.

Bandanamom said...

That is no fun. We've had bikes stolen out of the back yard which seems very brazen to me.

The worst was when we got broken in during the middle of the night. The dogs did not wake us up which I always thought was weird. They stole my purse and immediately sold my phone to someone on the street and attempted to use my cards to get gas, etc. Luckily it was not a lot of money gone before we got it stopped.

Anyway, it's been several years since it happened. I later realized that they also stole a saxaphone - it was under one of the kids beds. That's when I knew it had to be someone who was familiar with the house. Probably even someone who was familiar with the dogs.

I still can't figure out why you would be that bold...what if we had woken up? The police said it's usually someone who is an addict at that point because they are so desperate for cash they'll take huge risks to get quick cash.'s really awful - you feel violated for a long time. It's hard to have kids have to go through that too - you want them to feel safe and comfortable and not like they have to be on guard at their own home and with all their possessions.

It sounds like you are dead on about the teens though. I've long suspected our culprit was a friend of Holden's.

Miss Hope said...

Hard lessons learned just suck. I hate that baby had to learn to put his stuff up in such a rotten way.

We live in military housing at the moment and the kids leave stuff out all the time. Bikes are on the ground in the park across the street waiting for their owners to remember them and take them home. It's a cosy little feeling. We'll be leaving this in a few months and I'm already sad because I have a feeling our bicycles and scooters will no longer be safe.

Sorry this happened, man.

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