Thoughts about thieves

K and I have been talking about the kind of person who thinks it’s perfectly alright to take someone else’s property. In addition to the thief who ripped off all my tools this past weekend, K volunteers at the local domestic violence shelter, and says rare is the day that goes by that one of the clients doesn’t steal something belonging to someone else — either the shelter itself or another client. Recently, a departing client was stopped while loading fully half of the recently-donated children’s library into her car! We’re talking well over $500 worth of children’s books that were donated to the shelter. When confronted about this by a staffer, she said “These belong to the clients” — to which the staffer said, correctly, “Yes, they do. ALL of the clients.” They’ve had to ration Kool-Aid mix to single-serving baggies because huge industrial tubs of it were disappearing daily, sometimes within a single hour. Clients think nothing of going into another client’s room and lifting a purse, a wallet, a credit card, a driver’s license, cash, property, whatever they think they can get away with.

It’s gotten to the point that K is thinking very hard about continuing to volunteer at the shelter — she finds it very difficult to, effectively, work for thieves. Yes, it’s true that nobody deserves to be in a violent situation, but these people use “but I’m a victim” as an excuse for all manner of other reprehensible behavior, and have no conscience about it — even stealing from another, fellow victim!

How does this happen? How does someone develop the mindset that the world — and specifically, people who work to earn what they have — owe them a living?  Elsewhere (not on LJ),

 commented that once upon a time, her father, an electrician, had all his tools stolen by some low-life. To my way of thinking, this is doubly-bad: not only has the thief taken property, he also removed the means by which the victim makes his living. Hard to be an electrician without tools. So the victim has to go out and buy more tools just to put food on the table, but the amount of money available for food is less now because he has to pay for the tools all over again — and if the victim is like a lot of tool-wielding pros I know, they’re in hock to the tool man anyway, so now they’re making payments on tools that have been stolen in addition to the new tools!

Insurance? HA! I say. Theoretically, the contents of that trailer were covered by my homeowners insurance. But if you make a claim, they either drop you entirely or jack your annual premium up to make sure you pay back what they paid you over the next few years, plus interest. So it’s not worth it unless you have a big claim — say more than 250-300% of your deductible. In this case, I’m looking at only about 140% of my deductible, so it’s really not worth filing the claim.

Anyway, back to thieves: They’re lowlife scumbag assholes. They aren’t Robin Hood. They aren’t Ocean’s 11, 12, or 13. They’re thieves. They take stuff that someone else worked hard to earn. If they expended the effort they put into stealing into something legitimate, they’d make a good, honest living. But no, they think they deserve someone else’s stuff, even if it’s just to sell/fence for some cash.

This scumbag took tools I’ve been slowly accumulating based on need (for a specific project) and cashflow availability since my teens. Some of them were gifts: my socket set was a graduation present when I graduated high school 21 years ago. To be honest, the only one with any sentimental value is the screwdriver the thief left behind because of the names engraved on the handle: my grandfather’s, and my own. Yes, he had time to look at it. Trying to replace all of this at once is fiscally painful. How do you pay for 25 years’ worth of accumulated tools in one fell swoop? You write a big check, either to the tool supplier directly or to your credit card company.

Not that the sub-viral life form cares, but K and I have been working pretty hard to pay down our debt load and are very close to the finish line. It’s to the point where I’m taking on a lot of repairs we’d ordinarily pay someone else to do in order to prevent more debt (such as recharging the AC in K’s Focus, which I did this evening — my gauge and recharge kit stays in the garage and thus wasn’t stolen). Okay, I actually enjoy it when I have time to do it, but that’s not the point. Throwing a four-digit purchase on a credit card right now is not something that works with that debt-retirement goal.

Dumbest thing I was asked today: “Do you know who did it?”

No, I do not. If I did, there would be a slightly greasy smoking crater where that waste of skin used to stand.

Compounding my mad today: the complete runaround from the various managers of Public Storage. I have still to hear back from the national Customer Service Manager, but the facility manager, district manager, and regional manager have been long on apologies and short on action. The district manager even managed to be distinctly rude to me, hanging up on me. The regional manager kept professing his inability to make it right. No, said I, it is not that you *cannot*, it is that you *will* not. You have made a choice to not take care of your long-time customer.

He’s very sorry, of course. I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with apologies. Apologies don’t refill my empty tool box. It’s time for Public Storage to prove their sincerity with a check for the damages.

Both the district and regional managers provided me with ammo should this go all the way to small claims court: both said the company provides security. Where we differ is that they consider a simple chain link fence and a key-code gate to be sufficient security. Clearly, based on at least 3 fence cuts that I’m aware of in the last 8 years, including two in the last 12 months (November ’06 and this past Friday), that resulted in some sort of damage to my property (locks or hasps cut/pried off all three times; front of trailer “tossed” the first time, no apparent internal damage the second time, culminating in this weekend’s theft), their idea of “security” is insufficient enough that I think the court may buy it.

All because some thieving lowlife asshole scumbag has an over-developed sense of entitlement. About the only thing this dickweed has going for him at this point is anonymity. Because he’s really pissed me off. And if there are two lessons one must know in life, they are:

1) Never piss off an engineer

2) Never piss off a Celt.

I’m both. I’m a Scots-Irish (and German, for an added bonus) engineer.



  1. I recall we’d paid down our Sears card at that point, and replacing the tools took it up to the limit again. There was no choice. Hope small claims says they have to pay for the tools.


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