Happy Thanksgiving … and I was robbed

November 25, 2013 — 94 Comments

Last Friday started off well enough, but it came to a crashing (literally) end. My house was robbed.

Robbery Kitchen Window

I was up at work when my wife called and told me that the woman who looks after our daughter after school called her and said that our house had been broken into … and that was all she said. So, freaking out, I quickly grabbed my stuff and ran out the door, thinking that I needed to get home as quickly as possible. I only live about 2 miles from where I work but it still took an agonizing 15 minutes to make the drive. The police had been called and we were told to NOT go in the house until they had arrived. Do know how hard it is to know that you’ve been robbed and NOT go in the house? It’s almost impossible.

All I could think of as we all stood around, first waiting for the police to arrive and then for them to walk the house to make sure it was clear – was how much of my stuff had been taken and how much vandalism damage I was going to discover once I got in the house. The good news was that when we were finally let in, I realized this was only a very thorough smash-and-grab job. They robbers did not slash my furniture, break whatever they could, or spray paint any of my interiors. They did, however, pull everything out … they dumped over drawers, cabinets, and pulled everything out of the closets. They were looking for whatever they could reasonably carry out of the house without drawing too much attention to themselves. This means they stole all our small-ish electronics and jewelery. My wife got the worst of it because they stole jewelry that can not be replaced – fancy things that have been in her family and passed down for generations. It’s valuable stuff but since it isn’t anything we’d ever sell, we don’t think of it as diamonds, pearls, and opals … it’s her grandmother’s diamonds, pearls, and opals.

Bedroom Robbery


Our house is generally kept in very tidy order – I can’t think straight when there’s stuff all over the place. Walking through the house only to see all the contents from the drawers dumped out all over the place was extremely disconcerting. Clearly the people who robbed us were looking for jewelry in the picture above … which they found. In addition to all my computer stuff, my wife’s jewelry, they also stole my daughter’s piggy bank … that has got to be some seriously bad karma.

I  generally choose to believe in karma – you do good things and good things will happen to you. I also like to think of myself as a “glass-half-full” type of person. Normally, you might think that I must have done something really bad because karma decided to smack me down with a home robbery, but I would rather like to think that karma kept things from being worse than they turned out. Nobody came home and discovered people in the house, none of our pets – 3 cats, 1 dog, fishes, rats, etc. were bothered, lost, or damaged. Additionally, our house wasn’t spray painted and our furniture wasn’t slashed. For the most part, other than a few pieces of sentimental jewelry, none of the things that were taken were items that can’t eventually be replaced. Just wondering … do I have a fan that works at Apple since all my ‘Life of an Architect’ post producing computers and electronics were stolen …? If I have to write these posts on my phone, I can promise you that I won’t be doing this much longer. Anyone? Okay, never mind.

All things considered, I really don’t feel too bad. I’m glad that it’s the Thanksgiving holiday this week because rather than dwelling on my misfortune, I’ll have the time to think about all the things for which I am grateful:

  • smart and beautiful wife who is better than I deserve
  • a healthy and creatively brilliant daughter who makes me laugh
  • a passion for what I do for a living
  • a job throughout one of the worst recessions in my professional life
  • this website which allows me to pursue creative outlets not otherwise available to me
  • good friends who came over to my house to help sweep up glass and drop off treats
  • and the where-with-all that gave me the ability to buy all the stuff that was stolen in the first place

I know not everyone who reads this site celebrates Thanksgiving but regardless, we all have things to be thankful for – it just takes a minute (or a tragedy) to think about them and put the things that really matter in perspective.

I hope everyone has a great week, I appreciate your support.


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  • hoe

    just kidding

  • hoe

    shut up i rob your house

  • Brian D. Meeks

    This is so upsetting. I can’t put into words how sorry I am that this happened to you. I hope someone finds the people who stole your stuff.

  • Alina

    Been there, sorry to hear it happen to you. Its an awful feeling knowing someone went through your stuff and did and take whatever they wanted, it makes you feel powerless, glad to see you have such a great attitude. Good thing no one was at home at the time, I hope you and your family had a great Thanksgiving!

  • Bob, that is the worse feeling when it hits you that someone has been through all your stuff and taken things with sentimental value. So sorry you had to go through that. One of these days I might take up one of those companies pushing web cams for security. Don’t really want to go there. You have your family intact, so plenty to be grateful/thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Lee

    Bob, I’m sorry to hear that. Thankfully, you and your your family are safe and together. Love your attitude and thank you for reminding us of the important things in our lives during the increasingly materialistic holiday season. Best wishes.

  • Jr. Popcorn

    Karma is always working to make us think about how we treat other people. Hope you have a great holiday, BOB.

  • Elise Moore

    Wow, so sorry to hear about this Bob. It’s so disconcerting to have your home turf violated like that, but thank God your wife and daughter were not there, and the pets were all unharmed. Guess Thanksgiving has a special meaning this year. Take care and hope you all can get everything settled soon!
    Elise Moore

  • Rafael Gomez

    Sorry Bob ..I just don’t know what to say..is grateful that you’re loved for us.
    Is something to think about it.Don’t relay always in happy circumstances. Good things
    always come through lost .You’re not an ordinary person remember that so go ahead …be my guest !

  • Xiaosheng Wu

    Sorry about that, I would suggest that posting floor plan and section details on your blog is not wise… be careful… maybe the robber is one of your follower …

    • seriously doubt that those items contributed to this burglary. If it was a follower, I think they would have taken things more personal to me … like my underwear

  • magaor

    A mal tiempo, buena cara….ánimo, sigue adelante! sólo son cosas materiales las que se llevaron….seguro te recuperarás y quedarás fortalecido!

  • ParadigmGallery

    so sorry….been there more then a couple of times…just an awful feeling!

    • a couple of times? yikes!

      • ParadigmGallery

        right, actually more…lost the baby lockets and grandmothers and mothers momentos…I am more cynical but safe and sound…glad your loved ones are too….

  • Yeibel

    So Sorry you and your family had to go through this this particular time of the year. Glad all are safe and sound. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Thanks – Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

  • Mojo

    So sorry to hear about this. Would there be any chance that someone stumbled across your blog and found out about all the expensive equipment you own and decided to hit your home?

    • doubt it – the things they took could probably be found in almost any home these days. This was convenience and opportunity

  • Benedikte Ranum

    Very sorry to hear of your misfortune, but love your attitude, Bob.

    • Thanks Benedikte – takk for at du tok deg tid til å forlate et notat, jeg virkelig setter pris på det.

      • Benedikte Ranum

        Bare hyggelig! 😉

  • Genie

    Bob, this is terrible. You must feel so violated. It’s pretty amazing that you’re choosing to be positive. I probably wouldn’t be quite so ” keep on the sunny side” if it happened to me. Glad the animal family was unharmed and safe. The robbers will get what is coming to them

    • Thanks Genie – I think that since they were robbing me in the first place, they already got what was coming to them.

  • cgarch

    Bummer. Our house was broken into back in January. Lost an irreplaceable ring from grandfather, my wife’s laptop, the ipad and the cheesy little fire safe was easily pried open and the $500 emergency cash stash was ripped. Later that night the laptop showed up in SF for a brief moment before it was shut off [We like Apple’s find my iPhone, Laptop, etc.], but the target was too large to pinpoint which building. A later call to SFPD was rebuffed – no interest unless I was staring the offending party in the face.

    What was important was what was not taken and that includes the home server (kind of hidden), and all of the time machine backups. Purchasing a new laptop the next day had my wife back in business in short order. It became apparent to me that the laptop is just an appliance – it’s the data on it that means a helluva lot more. There is no substitute for a good backup, and preferable off-site.

    I installed a couple of fake video cams and then installed a real video cam that sends videos on ‘alarm.’ Three months later, while the real one was in transit, I did come home to find the screen removed from the same window and laying in the patio. And that was it. The windows had been essentially anchored shut and I’m sure when the offending party looked up and saw the camera with its blinking light decided it was best to leave. If only the real one had been in place. . . It’s tough having to live with bottom feeders.

    • I have paused at the fire safes on more than on occasion but I always thought that someone who might steal it would think “how considerate, they put everything in one place for me.”

      That having been said, I think some security monitoring is in my near future.

      • cgarch

        All of which brings to mind the old chestnut “The definition of a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged.”

  • MG

    Hope you had photos of some of the stuff stolen, if so you can head to the local pawnshops and give the owners a notice of what to be one the lookout for. If odds are in your favor you might get back some of the items…..
    Sorry to hear about the theft, hopefully you still have a happy thanksgiving.

    • Thanks – we’ll make due, gravy has healing powers so Thanksgiving’s arrival is well timed!

  • Mark R. LePage

    Piggy bank thieves will most certainly end up in a bad place. So sorry…

  • R.Bruce Germond

    Sorry, Bob, bad karma will be their reward. Have a safe holiday. Thanks for the blog, it’s a mind saver…

    • Bruce,

      Thanks for taking the time to send a note – I appreciate it and your kind words.

  • EnergyVanguard

    Sorry to hear that, Bob. I’ve been robbed, too, but didn’t lose anything really valuable then (because I pretty much didn’t have anything). My wife was robbed a while back, though, and like your wife, lost some jewelry that was her grandmother’s. Not good! I’m glad that it was just physical stuff, and everyone in your family, including your pet rats, is OK.

  • Tim Barber


    You are not alone my friend. I have had my office broken into (once) and my house broken into (once). Like you it was a “smash and grab” type of deal. We do have an alarm in the house, but we had left the motion detector off because of our two dogs.

    The thief, I beleve, was trying to pry the trim off the french door, which happen to be all fiberglass, so the pressure he put on the fake trim caused the glass to shatter, so he just walked through the door. Because the door wasn’t openned the alarm did not go off. He only took jewerly and did not leave our house in as big a mess as your photo shows. Fortunately our heirlooms were hidden in the linen closet, but there was jewerly that was taken I had purchased my wife 30 years ago that can not be replaced. The biggest damage was my wife’s loss of sense of security. She use to love when I purchased her jewerly. I would like to think as an architect I have decent taste and I always purchased what I liked. I picked winnners most of the time, but since the break in she no longer wants or will wear new jewerly as she is afraid to leave any in a readily accessable drawer. She only has what she can wear, so new jewerly is never worn and I have been told not to buy anymore. That is a shame and the biggest detriment of the break in.

    I kind of felt the same way at my office and was putting things in drawers and closets as I left each night that use to just sit on desk tops. Fortunately I got over the feeling of insecurity. Hey, the NSA captures everything I write, talk about and probably think, so I do what I can about protecting my self from the government and burglers and get on with my life.

    Don’t worry about the things you can’t control. I put life into the perspective – None of my kids have a terminal disease, so my life is pretty damn good! You have a great Thanksgiving and you are correct that you are a very lucky man with a good and enjoyable profession who has good friends and a great family!

    • What a drag – home AND office…

      I am trying to not let the experience change how I go about my business but I think some change is probably prudent … I just don’t want to be the guy that’s starts thinking about how “the toe kick in the guest bedroom would make a great hiding place…”

  • So sorry to read about the break in, good attitude though and a great post. Have a great Thanksgiving.

    • Thanks Tim – Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

  • lardavis1951

    Now I’m wondering what’s happening at my place while i’m away on vacation…not being neat, they might be crushed by falling “treasures”. My place is only a few miles from the Washington IL tornado, and an ex-coworker’s house was wiped out.
    Glad you all were not home, and that the pets were spared (although maybe not the trauma). Good luck with your recovery. I’d give you a computer, I enjoy your blog that much.

    • You are very kind and I am amused by your “falling treasures” comment. I guess that’s one downfall for being overly tidy, things were easy to find and sort through!

      Everything is working out fine, I’ll be able to continue writing (if you can call it that) posts for the site.

      Happy Thanksgiving – hope you enjoy your vacation!

  • Arpi Nalbandian

    Oh Bob, I’m so sorry to read today’s post and topic. Thankfully, you and your family are safe. And as you mentioned, I really hope Karma does get in these jerks faces and gives them a piece of her mind. May you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  • Donovan Lord

    So sorry to hear about your misfortune. That really bites. I am glad that everyone was ok. Per your Mac, you can get a discount if you tell them it’s for a business if you buy it through the Apple store. Also, I might suggest investing in some video cameras around your house and an alarm system. We have both – Logitech 700 system – up to 16 cameras – around our house color and audio and night vision – it has caught some minor vandals in the past and helped the police to locate and press charges although I haven’t been robbed knock on wood, if I ever were i’d certainly catch them on camera.

    I know how disconcerting this must be for you as an architect as I am exactly the same way about my home – needs to be kept neat for me to think and when things are in disarray my mind is as well.

    Best of luck in the future and be grateful, as you are, for the things you do have.

  • Mikheil

    It’s horrible to hear this. You are really lucky that no was at home. All the best for your family!

  • Erik

    Sorry to hear that this all went down and you guys had your stuff messed with. I know the feeling too. But I’m glad to see your take on the whole situation to to take the better mans’ attitude and give thanks for what you have. I am praying that you will get back the things that were taken. Even seven times the value. Wishing you and your family an awesome Thanksgiving this week! I hope to see the ‘Caught Them’ post soon enough! Cheers to you.

    • Hah! I’ll take the 7 times value bit – that sounds pretty sweet!

      Have a great Thanksgiving 🙂

  • Gloria Graham Sollecito, AKBD

    You go BOB!! What a great attitude. Guess that’s why we’re grateful for you. Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

  • ToTheMoonNeil

    Great attitude, Bob! I remember when my house was broken into a few years back, feeling rather violated, but you realized things are just things and they are for the most part replaceable.

    • I think you have to find a way to make peace with something like this – I decided that if I let it get to me where I am changing my reasonable behavior now, they win again.

  • Aisha Densmore-Bey

    I’m so sorry that this happened to you. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, but I most definitely believe in Karma. I know you will bounce back even stronger than before. It’s wonderful that you were able to step back and be express appreciation for what you do have. Cheers!

    • someone in the office today told me that I am a silver linings guy … pretty nice to hear ([way better than being the a-hole guy] 😉

  • Tim Glass

    I’m sorry you and your family were robbed, Bob. But I’m grateful no one was home when it happened and you’re all safe.

  • Bill Reeves

    damn. I am so sorry to hear about the robbery. This kind of attach is very personal. Thankfully everyone is ok. I hope they find him.

    • the place where I live, the police get super pissed at stuff like this so I’ve already been contacted by them several times … and they’re running fingerprints. They seem motivated 🙂

  • Brenda

    I would take some time and look through some of the local pawn shops to see if you can find even one piece of jewelry. But I am also very glad to hear that you are all ok. You are in my thoughts.

  • Scott

    Bob, so sorry to hear. Just glad everyone is safe.

  • wavewriter

    My sincere sympathy for your invasion, and that is what it is. You and your family’s personal space has been invaded and you will never forget it. It’s not a rape, but damn close. I am so sorry. Be thankful you were not present. It happened to my wife and I once and I still can see the thief’s shadowy image darting through our bedroom. Ugh!

    • That would be terrible – having someone in the house when you are in it adds an entirely different level of terror to it. I’m not sure I could be so cavalier about it if we had been home when it happened.

  • Roxanne Button

    Ugh, Bob, that is awful – so sorry to hear about this. My apartment was broken into (twice – they came back 2 weeks later to get what we replaced!) when I was a very poor, unemployed architect about 15 years ago. They took CDs, my high school class ring, and my friend’s laptop (which I had borrowed to work on resumes and job searches…adding insult to injury). It was truly one of the lowest points of my life because I couldn’t afford to replace any of it (and did not have renter’s insurance – idiot). You have a far more gracious attitude about the whole thing than I did 🙂

    • I also have insurance – although it with growing trepidation that I keep hearing about the return robbery. I think before I actually replace everything I am going to get some additional security in place. Yikes!

      Something about getting your apartment broken into seems worse – like it reflects a certain period in your life when things are more precious because there’s fewer of them …? I don’t really know, either way, it sucks.

  • Rick Hampton

    I feel for you. I have had that happen as well. I still get angry when i open the drawer where i kept my fathers class ring. There’s a personal story attached there. On the other side is perspective. A friend of mine is sitting bedside with his 31 year old daughter who had a stroke and more than likely won’t survive. Stuff is just stuff. Happy Thanksgiving…

    • stuff is just stuff – exactly right. I’m glad I didn’t have to learn this lesson in a more tragic manner.

      My heart goes out to your friend and his daughter – that’s a real tragedy.

  • Emily Scanlon

    Bob, I’m very sorry to hear this. I too have been broken into (twice, two years apart, the week before Christmas both times) and I know what an awful feeling it brings. I also know that it really does make one focus on what kind of ‘stuff’ truly brings joy into our lives. I’m glad to see that you share my belief that the really good stuff is intangible. I’m thankful that you and your family were not harmed. Hope you guys enjoy your holiday time together.

    • twice the week BEFORE Christmas?!? That really sucks, it’s like having Christmas stolen. My week is already back to normal and everything is right in my world. Thanksgiving is coming at a good time because it’s giving us something else to focus on … like gravy.

  • Has that old roommate been hanging about again? I like your take on karma, at least it wasn’t worse – you weren’t home or held at gunpoint. I guess you’ll be designing a jewelry wall safe and adding an alarm system? So sorry this happened to you and your family. Yes, we have a lot to be thankful for – especially nice guys like you. XO

    • yes – an alarm system is definitely in my near future. The really odd part is that I live on the corner near a busy intersection – that has always been an incentive for burglars to stay away because walking out with stuff would be very visible and very obvious. It probably played a role in limiting the los this time as well.

      Thanks for thinking I’m a nice guy – I appreciate it

  • Eva Byrne Architect

    How awful! We were robbed once, it’s just not nice having your personal space violated and not knowing how has been going through your home. But your ability to choose thankfulness over anger is inspiring!

    • I’m sure if I was a younger man anger would come easier, it just doesn’t work for me. And how could you be angry knowing that Thanksgiving is in 4 days!!

      Thanks Eva, sorry you were robbed as well. Feeling violated when someone is rooting through all your stuff in such a harsh manner is terrible. I don’t like thinking that I have to change how I go about my business in order to become / feel more protected and secure, I like the way I was and I am going to try and stay that way.


  • Nancie Mils Pipgras

    Damned shame Dude, but you got some righteous ‘tude in responding to this nastiness. Such a gift for your daughter in that. Maybe it’s time to revise the What To Get an Architect For Christmas list.

    • Hahaa – good idea! Eventually insurance will deal with the stuff I personally lost but I think my girls would be happy if I added a “home security system” to that list …

  • elisemjones

    Oh no! So sorry to hear about this. Your glass-half-full outlook is sure to get you through this. That and a good case of beer. Hugs to your family and know that karma does exist and it is a b*tch. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Hi Elise!

      Should I be embarrassed to admit that I checked my wine and liquor stash fairly early on in the “discovery” period?

  • joe

    dear bob
    i have been robbed once as well & it was so scary having all drawers upside down like yours… & i was too scared to stay in the place that nite …
    but glad that noone is hurt & i hope no more bad things in the future…

    • Thanks Joe – my daughter was definitely freaked out about the idea that some stranger was in our house but she has since started to refer to them as “Dimwit Muddyboots” for reasons that are probably self-apparent.


  • gt

    that’s such a nasty thing to happen to your family…. Keep your spirits high and indeed do remind yourself it’s just *stuff* that’s gone, even if very valuable, still just stuff.
    Have some moral support from Australia!


    • Thanks.

      An unrelated side note, we were watching a program Saturday morning with our daughter that focused on Australia and we all took a straw pole vote and decided that we would all move to Australia. Sooner or later I will be coming for a visit!

      • gt

        Cool! It’s only a short 16 h flight from LA… and totally worth it. Anounce your trip (when you get to that point in time) and I’m sure there’ll be many special doors that will open for you down under. Don’t forget NZ, too.

        • Absolutely! I actually have a brother-in-law who is a Maori and if I was in that part of the world and didn’t make the effort, he would not be very happy with me

  • gayle pickering

    I second the ebay suggestion. And local pawn shops (if you have any?) but you’ve probably thought of this already. We just had a scenario very similar happen in our community and the police found him thru the cops tracing the jewelry (vintage family) from NYC back to east hampton. So there is hope. And Karma is definitely a big part of this – stay positive and enjoy your family. And thanks for sharing. I really enjoy this blog. Sorry monday’s news wasn’t what i expected!

    • Hi Gayle,
      I know we will keep an eye out on eBay, although I’m not looking forward to that process. Everything except the family jewelry is just stuff so it’s easy to be thankful that it wasn’t worse than it was. Go Karma!

  • Chris Laumer-Giddens

    You didn’t deserve this, Bob! Hope these are the best holidays, ever, for you and your family.

    • Thanks Chris – We still consider ourselves incredibly fortunate and there are people who have real problems. To help keep things in perspective, we still went out Saturday and did our annual “Angel Tree” shopping (where you select someone’s name off a tree and go buy them the things they have asked for).

  • 03306028

    Glad to hear everyone including the critters are ok. And wow, way to keep a positive attitude — If the measure of a man is how well he wades through the unpleasant crap in life, you must be a pretty alright guy. 😉 Hang in there.

    • Everything is cool now although until I can replace my computer, I am going to be a bit frustrated. It’s already getting to me that I can’t “log on”.

      Thanks for the support

  • Third News

    I’d look for your wife’s jewelery on ebay

    • we’ve started that process, what a beating

  • Yasmin

    Sorry to hear Bob, getting robbed sucks!