A Haven for Book Lovers

I am just a girl who loves reading and talking about books

Lost Books – Burglarized

On January 29th 2014, after a long day at work and then an hour at the office gym, I got home to find my door wide open. At first, I wondered if I had walked to the wrong house. I also entertained the thought that perhaps I had left the door open after having left in the morning in a rush. Before I even entered the house, I thought back to that morning. I had woken up in a good mood, taken out the garbage and even drew my curtains open, a regular morning. At the pit of my stomach, I knew the truth, I had been burglarized and so with trepidation, I entered the house.

The first place I looked was the TV trolley which needless to say was empty. The living room looked like what I imagine a hurricane aftermath would look like. Papers everywhere, cushions on the floor, empty boxes, knives and screwdrivers (used to dissemble electronics) and things like artwork simply knocked over. I noticed that the electronics were all gone. The weird thing that also caught my eyes was the print left at the edge of my sofa set where someone had sat down to disconnect the electronics from the sockets. I never wanted to sit on that spot again.

I tried to tell myself that perhaps the burglars only targeted the living room where all the electronics were. Unfortunately, walking to the other rooms, the situation was the same. My bedroom was the worst hit, clothes on the floor, jewelry strewn all over, the bed tossed, it was a mess.

I looked at my nightstand where my laptop used to be and of course it was empty. I had been given that laptop as a gift in 2009 by my former employer who had then joked ‘now you can write books and be a famous writer’. That laptop was full of articles, most unpublished, and short stories spanning over a period of almost 6 years and two unfinished manuscripts. It also had all my favorite music and e-books. I knew that it was one thing that I would never get to replace.

The thing about being burglarized is that you do not notice the small things at first. In my case, I didn’t even think to look at the kitchen initially. However, when I finally walked in, I sighed when I saw my fridge at the door, not sure why it was the door. But then it hit me just how quiet it really was, without a familiar buzzing sound. That is when I noticed that the fridge had been unplugged and the fridge guard stolen. Soon I also noticed the gas cylinder was missing and I cursed myself for having refilled it only a week before.
I remember when the police finally came and as we walked room to room, I began noticing other things. All my gold coated jewelry was gone. In addition, my lotion and a half used perfume bottle was also missing. I had worn the same scent for ages, ‘Rasasi-Royale Blue’ it was a beautiful scent that I unfortunately gave up since that break-in. Later I would wonder what the burglars did with it, do they walk around smelling of my scent or did they perhaps use the little loot to woo someone. I guess I’ll never know. My skipping rope was also gone.
Finally back at the living room, I stood there with a policeman who was writing furiously on his notebook and trying to estimate the cost of stolen items. He looked at the TV area again and asked me if there was something else that used to be there.

“DVD, Speakers and…OMG my books, where are my books, they took my books!”

I just started screaming as I finally lost it. I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed it before but my makeshift bookshelf was completely empty.

I had hundreds and hundreds of books mostly from street vendors. I also had some awesome books by Iyanla Vanzant that my friend Lydia had graciously lent me, priceless books. On my “soon to read” side of the shelf, I had a book by Muthoni Garland, “Tracking the scent of my mother”. It was a new book that I had gotten from the author herself, autographed when I attended one of her trainings. Well, I lost that book. It didn’t make sense why they had stolen all of my books instead of the artwork which cost more and seemed portable.
Although the street books were acquired at very fair prices, they were still quite a collection that I really loved; most of them were still new.

The fear and desperation that comes with being a victim of any crime is terrible. I didn’t want to be in that house anymore. I couldn’t stand the thought of the violation of strangers coming into my personal space like that. I didn’t know then my life was about to change drastically.

Oh and by the way, two weeks after the first burglary, a second attempt took place and this time I lost my carpet and any remaining sense of security.

These past 6 months have been quite trying. The paranoia and constant fear has become a permanent companion. I lock all my doors at all times. The bedroom doors, kitchen door, living rooms, every single door stays locked night and day. I have become obsessively alert such that footsteps wake me up. I also became a self appointed night patrol policewoman, walking around the house at 3:00am checking all the locks, looking out of the windows, worried and waiting. I used to sleep well before but now, I wake up at least four times at night with every single noise. In addition, my health has also taken a hit from the stress.
In just 6 months, I have already moved twice after having previously been in the same house for three years.
Last week, as I was leaving the house, I saw a man drive into the compound. I couldn’t see the guard and the man just drove in and parked his car and then walked out. I watched the man for a while as he walked away and then he started making a phone call. Paranoia kicked in and I kept asking my friend to go check if my house was still locked all the while I was saying my prayers. Luckily, I was the only suspicious person on that day seeing that I was the one watching the man, almost following him and trying to listen to his phone calls. However, that is just how paranoid I have become.

Nobody tells you that thieves don’t only steal your property, they also can still your peace and sense of security. They will also mess with your mind and just throw your life into spin. That carefree attitude you once had leaves then.

Oh and sometimes, they also randomly steal all your books!

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8 comments on “Lost Books – Burglarized

  1. abuamirah
    August 27, 2014

    What? Thats like so cruel…..especially considering that you’ve had to live with that fear for 6 months now. One thing that really scares me about bulglary is the thought that they are people who may perhaps be seeing me everyday, alafu when i pass them they laugh behind my back…..eish!

    pole about the books, i know that feel….and the stress of now having to redo all your articles, which could be next to impossible if they are many and there’s no back up….

    Now i understand so much from this story…….

    • dianagitau
      September 4, 2014

      Now i understand so much from this story…….

      Mhh… Abu, not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing LOL

      Yeah six tough months but now getting over it. The over alertness stays but with time, i am starting to relax again. As for being watched, i moved away from the area but the feeling stays. I get suspicious of everyone including strangers making calls near my house especially if see them when leaving for work. I always assume that it is the”ametoka sasa” call

  2. africanagirl
    August 27, 2014

    That’s just cruel! The worst thing about being robbed is that some things they take are irreplaceable..the years you must have spent writing! And as for the electronics, it’s so expensive to replace all that..I do hope the insurance can help out.

    • abuamirah
      August 28, 2014

      At times, especially considering the laxity of our police in following up on such issues is to be grateful that you are unharmed……yes some things are irreplaceable, but being alive and unharmed is paramount.

      Dee, start some serious kung fu and ninja lessons 🙂

      • dianagitau
        September 4, 2014

        Interesting thing…when you are a victim of any crime, people always tell you that” you are lucky to be unharmed/alive”. At that time, it just feels like empty words so in your mind, you are like “they just don’t get it, its not just about the stuff”. Anyway, yeah i do know that and i am grateful that they didn’t get into the house the second time round since it was at night and i was home alone.

        Kungfu and ninja lessons LOL

    • dianagitau
      September 4, 2014

      Unfortunately, i hadn’t taken a cover by that time. However, i am wiser now and i made sure to insure all my valuables now. Realized its so much cheaper than dealing with the loss.Thanks for reading:-)

  3. BNM
    August 28, 2014

    Really sorry about your loss. I remember seeing your update on this.

    On the manuscripts, articles and stuff on your laptop/PC-open a free or premium Cloud service like Dropbox, G-Drive and others and always leave copies of your work there. It can also help if your computer crashes.

    After reading the story, I have a terrible feeling that whomever stole from you knew you were living alone, time of arrival from work perhaps even what is in your house. Try to go back beyond January, any suspicious man or woman, strangers who came with a friend, a neighbor who kept on bulging in your home etc. It is possible those who stole from you had a woman with them to ensure there was no suspicion.

    Get your brother, hubby, male friend etc to keep coming in your home often, especially at unexpected times like midday, 11am, 3pm, at night, walk you home. Someone watching (I’m sure someone is, also you have a kind countenance and a lovely person everyone is attracted to and perhaps even people with enterprising ideas) will think twice ever attempting to break into your home.

    Sorry my friend.

  4. dianagitau
    September 4, 2014

    Luckily i moved away. That was an issue of living and working at the same place, it made it very easy to be monitored and whoever stole from me, knew the hours that i used to keep and the fact that i left home and 7 and never went back for lunch so they had 12 whole hours.

    Thanks for the tips my friend, will keep them in mind;:-)

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This entry was posted on August 27, 2014 by in Uncategorized.
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