Third Time’s a … Pain!

24 02 2011

Our house has been broken into again!  And this time, really broken into!  Tuesday morning I was collecting towels from around the house to wash.  We have 3 bedrooms down a hallway that we don’t use except for the shower in one of them.  When I entered the room I happened to look across at the other side instead of just going straight into the bathroom.  That is when I noticed the window had been broken.

Our windows are all like the picture above.  We have wooden outdoor shutters, then a wooden insert with mosquito screens (although not in the picture above as that goes out to the screened-in patio) and finally the window.  Both the window and the shutter have the handles and bars to secure it closed.  When you turn the handle the bars retract and allow it to be opened.

In the room that had been broken into, the wooden shutter did not close properly so it was pried open.  They then cut out the screen and broke through the middle pane of the window in order to have access to the handle.  Once open, they had full access to the house.  Something must have spooked them as nothing was taken and both of our laptops were easily accessible.

As soon as I saw it, I called in our day guard, Rock.  He then told me that Saturday night our neighbours had been robbed.  Their guard was sleeping and whoever it was gained entry through a window and took their TV and some other things.  I’m assuming our break-in happened the same night.  Joe and I would have been sleeping at the other side of the house and we didn’t hear a thing.

We’ve had a bit of trouble with our night guard, Robert.  He’s a nice, young guy from Ghana and he has been with us since we moved into the house.  His shift starts at 6:30 pm and ends at 6:30 am and he is supposed to be awake and ‘guarding’ the entire time.  The problem lies in the fact that he is also working a day job elsewhere (they only make about $280 CAD a month.)  When we found this out we expressed our concern to him as we needed him to be awake here and he continually reassured us he would be.  It’s not easy to catch him sleeping as we don’t get up in the middle of the night to check on him but we knew he probably was.  A few nights ago, I was out with friends and returned just after midnight and couldn’t get in the gate.  I banged on the door, yelled in the windows of the guard shack and finally, Robert appeared, red-eyed.  He had been in the guard house with both doors shut and fast asleep.

Our immediate concern was getting the windows and shutters secured and we decided we needed a new night guard.  Robert was fired and we felt terrible about it but we need someone who will actually do the job.  Our new night guard started Tuesday evening and I gave him my best lecture in French about staying awake and that he was here to work and not to sleep.  Let’s hope it worked.

We’ve also had some workers in to secure all of the wooden shutters and they did so by adding a few extra latches to secure them shut.  Unfortunately, they secured them at the bottom and top of the shutter behind the mosquito screens so we aren’t actually able to open them anymore.  I suppose if we can’t open them from the inside, someone won’t be able to open them from the outside!

And thus is life in Africa…

Break-in #1 – iPod and toiletries stolen probably by someone we let in the house.  (Solution: no one comes in the house when we aren’t here.)
Break-in #2 – Money stolen out of a suitcase while we were on holidays.  (Solution: all locks changed.)
Break-in #3 – Window broken but nothing stolen.  (Solution: secure shutters and new guard.)

I sure hope we’ve covered all the bases this time!

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6 responses

24 02 2011
nataliegerber

I think you should get a dog – that way if the night guard is asleep the dog will give you a warning…?

24 02 2011
Ken Reid

Joe and Jay, Sorry to read about all the problems, but it can kind of get to you.
But just remember one thing, it’s minus 25c in Quesnel this morning!!
Ma and Pa Reid

25 02 2011
intowestafrica

Always good to keep that in mind! Hope you guys are having a good trip!

3 03 2011
Rozina

My problems don’t seem so big anymore. I hope you have no more incidents!

3 03 2011
intowestafrica

Unfortunately, we’ve had another break in this week and this time they got my engagement ring! (Had taken it off and stashed it away when we went to the beach on Saturday.) We’re working on a solution which might be a move to a different house! It’s been a rough week!

1 01 2012
2011 « Into West Africa

[…] robbery, robbery, robbery, etc. […]

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