I called my friend today who lost her husband a few weeks ago, just to check on her and got some alarming news. She told me that earlier in the week she'd been awakened in the night by a man standing over her with a flashlight demanding to know her pin number for her bank card. She told him she didn't have one, that she didn't do that and he ran down her hallway and out the front door. When he went out her front door it set off her alarm and her security company called to see if she needed the police. Within about ten minutes the police arrived to help her. The robber had gotten in through a window and taken all of her valuable jewelry, credit cards, cash and who knows what else--and had only woken her to try to get a pin number. (Thank goodness she slept through the robbery or he might have hurt her. My friend is in her eighties.)
I was just sick as she was telling me this story. However, that wasn't the end of it. Yesterday, a nice looking man in a nice car with a badge pulled up and let her know he was from her the local office of her security company. He told her he understood she'd had a break-in and wanted to review her security system with her and make sure it was working properly and up-to-date. One of her neighbors came over when he saw the man at her house just to make sure she was OK and he stayed to do the walk through with them. Everything seemed alright--until this morning when my friend thought she'd better call the security company and make sure they had sent someone. So she called them and asked if they had sent someone from the local office to do a walk-through. Well, turns out--they don't have a local office and they don't do walk-throughs. So, not only had this person learned all about her security system--she'd even given him the code at some point to check the system.
What she doesn't know is whether this was the same thief or a new one. After all, the one who woke her up had a flashlight shining in her eyes so she couldn't see him. So, her family has come in and secured the windows, better secured her doors and she has changed the code on her security system. They also adjusted her driveway lighting so it stays on all night long. It doesn't go off until 6:00 in the morning now. The police are going to put a heavier patrol on the neighborhood for awhile, but even so I am still nervous for my friend.
My first real emotion when she told me what had happened (after shock and fear) was sheer gratitude that she wasn't hurt. When the gratitude shifted, it turned to anger--how dare someone target my sweet, loving, wonderful friend. I have never been good at handling innocent people being hurt--by innocent, I also mean someone who can't defend them self,, someone who is vulnerable. I feel truly angry that someone--anyone would purposely take advantage of our elderly population.
My friend and I were talking and we figured that these guys pretty much have to have been watching the obituaries to see who the widows are--who is going to be home alone and vulnerable. She is not in a neighborhood that has had a lot of robberies before. She and her husband had never had anything like this happen before. Then all of the sudden within a week she has two incidents at her home--and they happen within a few weeks of her husband dying? I don't see how it can be a coincidence. I really think she was targeted and I'm afraid she will be again.
Part of me is writing about this because I need to get my frustration out--mostly, I'm telling you about it because I want people to know these types of things are occurring. I don't want them to happen to other people. If you have an elderly parent or friend who is in a situation like this, check on them often. Make sure their windows and doors are secured. Get them whatever type of security assistance you can and if you can arrange for someone to stay with them for some time after the loss of a spouse--do.
In the end, the only thing that really matters to me is that my friend is safe. I'm sorry she lost so much stuff but I know even she doesn't care so much about the stuff. It's just stuff even if it has a dollar value. I'm so grateful she wasn't hurt. I can still live, love and laugh with her--and I am going to make an even greater point to do so now.