May 14, 2005

This morning, Tod & I finally got ourselves to the police station to report the three robberies we’ve suffered since March. I was a little bit nervous—would they get all “I sorry, no speak Engrish” when we spoke to them in Japanese? Would they dismiss our robberies as trivial? Would we get into trouble somehow?

I shouldn’t have worried. After arousing an initial curiosity from all and sundry at the Reception counter, the staff quieted down and a man in a fishing vest took our report in hand and told us to sit and wait.

Tod passed the time reading all the posters in the lobby—aloud. Did you know that over 50% of burglars enter by breaking a window? Or that robberies trend upwards in the autumn? Neither did I. By the time Tod was done with the posters, Mr. Vest emerged from a side door with his colleague, Mr. Briefcase. “Let’s go,” Mr. Vest said enthusiastically, brandishing a digital camera.

And we were off to study the scene of the crime. Mr. Briefcase opened up his kit and examined the genkan with a strong light (so much dirt!) and dusted for fingerprints with a soft rabbit hair brush and some grey powder. Mr. Vest went downstairs to talk to the management guys and to test the door. He showed Tod how most “auto-lock” lobby doors can be fooled into opening by sliding a paper through the door from the outer lobby and waving it around. So much for security.

But that’s not how our robber got in. Mr. Vest spotted a footprint and some dirt on the sill of the window in the lobby that overlooks a small garden. The window had been left unlocked for air circulation, as it sometimes is. The robber scaled the wall, dropped into the garden and slipped in through the window, bypassing the auto-lock door.

After nearly an hour of investigations, a brief visit from the police chief, and a few minutes fingerprinting us for comparison with prints gathered, our two detectives went back to the station.

Mr. Vest told us that they catch about 70% of the burglars they seek; I hope we’re on the side of success.

Posted by kuri at May 14, 2005 10:22 PM


Hmm I should have shown you the paper trick - not that I do it but I’ve seen it it action - CD covers work well….

Posted by: MJ on May 15, 2005 02:46 AM

Ahhh - the unlocked window. I wonder how the building supervisors have responded to this piece of news given their reaction to your public service announcements….

Good to hear the Police are on the ball with this one.

Posted by: T on May 15, 2005 12:40 PM

Good Luck Kristen. Robberies really suck.. It has gotten pretty bad here where I live, (St. Paul MN) that I wish they would mark the bad people or cut off a hand or something so you can tell bad people from not, but since we don’t do that, I am left not trusting anyone.


Posted by: dave on May 31, 2005 09:32 PM
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