My May theme is moments.
In rural towns in the southeastern United States, it’s not uncommon to think twice before approaching a house way out in the country. Neighborhoods are different. People walk past on sidewalks all day in their comings and goings. But the country is another story altogether.
Theft is an increasing problem. Secluded driveways and barns offer privacy for stealing things. Our community discussion page almost daily features the camera footage of as-yet-unidentified people under suspicion of stealing the truck or trailer they are seen rummaging.
When thefts began occurring on our road, we put up cameras and discussed where to put the video surveillance sign. My husband thought it would go best up near the garage, but I thought it would be better to put it down at the foot of the long driveway, next to the No Trespassing sign. There, at least, the burglars would have an opportunity to rethink and turn around before fully committing to the consequences of their crime.
We studied the camera and became proficient at setting off the sirens – – just in case.
Was there any question that when I saw the white van with no company or business markings on it the very next day, pulling up to the driveway and a man entering our garage that my heart skipped a beat?
Really? This soon? We already have a burglar?
So I did what I had practiced and began setting off the alarm immediately, in 30-second increments. I wanted this man to know that everything he was about to take would be caught on camera.
And he did exactly as I’d hoped he would do. He ran out of the garage, looked directly at the camera and made a phone call.
Hmmm, I realized. Calling off his posse after checking the place out.
I started gathering my purse and sweater at work, heading right around the corner to the Sheriff’s Office on the town square to give a good description of the suspect and show them the footage.
And that’s when my phone rang.
It was my husband. Kim! Stop, stop, stop! Don’t set off the siren again. That’s our new pest control technician. Active was bought out by Allgood, and he’s there to spray.
Sheepishly, I simmered down and made my way back to my desk. I pulled up the side cameras, and sure enough – there he was, spraying for bugs all along the base of the house.
I asked my husband to call the technician back and explain – I was looking for a marked van. I’m thankful I wasn’t home. The other thing I really want is for our new bug man to make a PSA-type video testimonial that scrolls on a screen I can install on the tree next to the video surveillance sign, looking a lot like those bandits in Home Alone after Kevin McAllister gets finished with them – tattered clothes, tar-pitched faces, and hair everywhichaway.
“These folks are serious, y’all. You might want to turn around at this sign and not go up near this house if the Johnsons aren’t expecting you. It’s called the Funny Farm for a reason. These folks don’t play.”
Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.