“Don’t believe everything you read in the Herald Sun,” the senior constable told us as he took my statement. “Sometimes we actually do solve the crime.”
Now, you may think I’m jumping ahead a little here and it’s true. What has brought us to this point at which a police officer is discussing tabloid newspapers in the midst of taking statements at around 3am in the morning?
To answer this question, we’ll need to jump back to 1am, when I was peacefully asleep. It was time for my holidays to end and thus, I had taken myself to bed at the semi-reasonable hour of eleven o’ clock and failed to get to sleep in any meaningful fashion until some time before midnight. Understandably, I was somewhat annoyed to find myself suddenly awake at 1am when I needed to get all the sleep I could.
Annoyance quickly changed to confusion. It sounded as though someone was moving about the house in the dark. I suspected it was either my brother or his partner and I waited for a corresponding light to go on. When a light did go on, it was strange: it was too bright and it kept moving around.
Something was not right here.
I flicked my bedside light on and got out of bed, determined to find out what was going on. When I reached the bedroom door, I found out exactly what was going on: someone who was definitely not my brother or his partner was running for the front door, which was right next to me. As he wrenched the door open, I had time to notice he had my work bag in his hand and then he was running as hard as he could up the path.
It was possibly one of the most surreal moments of my life. All I could do was say what was happening – “Someone just stole my work bag” – and the Chef was up and running out of the door, despite being asleep just seconds earlier.
For a moment, I had no idea what to do. Should I follow the Chef? Should he even have gone after the thief? Was it time to panic yet?
Instead, I headed for the kitchen where I discovered my work iPad was also gone; only the charger was left sadly on the floor, wrenched from the powerpoint where it had been charging.
Ask for the police.
Try to stay calm while answering the questions I am asked.
Hang up and wait for about two minutes before a police car arrives. Seriously, it was that quick. A few minutes later, another police vehicle arrived, containing a police dog and its handler. The hunt was on. Police radios were alive with constant updates and people reporting in with street names and possible suspects. A while later, I asked how many people were actually looking for the suspects because the reports were non-stop and seemed to come from several different groups. As it turned out, these people chose a bad night to break into our house: several plain-clothes officers were already in the area on a different operation and they had joined in the search, too.
They caught them. All four of them.
They even found most of my stuff, except the iPad (although they did recover the usb cable), the wallet I bought myself for my birthday just six months ago and my handbag. This was far above my expectations of seeing none of my stuff ever again, including my keys and my credit card. I’m still in awe of the fact that all of these people (and a dog) turned up to help when I needed it and spent hours hunting suspects and doing their best to return all of my stolen items. To say they were amazing seems to be something of an understatement.
Because when the police do solve the crime and it happens to be one committed against you, it’s an utterly beautiful thing.