Saturday, October 17, 2009

Choosing Your House

You're bored, you're broke, and you really want to break into a house. If you're heading out into the night with no real destination, you've already fucked up. Picking a house takes time, unless you enjoy being caught. And how do you pick the right house, you ask? Why, I'm about to tell you!

1. Avoid black or hispanic neighborhoods. As a rule, these two cultures are brought up to fight, not roll over and play dead. Whites, particularly middle to upper class whites, are taught to hand the criminal whatever he wants, be it money, jewelery, or ass, without a fight. I know, it's how I was brought up. This brings me to the next rule.

2. Avoid shitty neighborhoods (if you follow #1 you should be good). Lower class people are typically more inclined to fight back than middle to upper class ones. A poor black momma will put you in the hospital, while a rich white man may just hand you the keys to his jag and beg you to not hurt his poodle. I'm exaggerating a bit, but the basic truth remains. People with little to lose will put a hurt on you if you attempt to fuck with what little they have to lose.

3. Always look for the easiest house. This may sound obvious, but too many would be burglars forget it when confronted with a house that looks like a treasure chest. For every house with a security system, bars on the windows, prickly foundation plantings, and double keyed deadbolts, there are 5 more with none of those things. Unless you're a seasoned pro who enjoys a challenge, find easier pickings. A house with lots of big windows, overgrown hedges and trees, and a nice big privacy fence around the back yard is what you want.

4. Look for homes with kids. A burglar's dream house is one with signs in the front yard advertising cheerleader and football player kids. Why? Because he knows that on game night, that house will be deserted for hours. In addition, kids mean things like computers, video gaming systems, and very likely an unlocked door or window somewhere. Also, homes with children nearly always have a big dumb dog, as opposed to a dog who might actually be a threat. If they do have small children and a pair of Pit Bulls, most likely they're white trash anyway and you shouldn't be there in the first place.

5. Look for an EMPTY HOUSE! I tell you to look for houses owned by a particular demopgraphic because the risk of bodily harm to you is lessened, but I only offer that advice because there is always a chance you'll fuck up and enter a house that someone is still in. A wise burglar will case his mark long enough to become aware of the traffic patterns, to ensure it's empty when he makes his move, but even then it can happen. However, there are plenty of boneheaded theives who don't even bother with that minor bit of planning, and in they go, right into a bunch of people. Unless you can run like a flaming assed cheetah, or you plan on escalating your criminal activities from home invasion to assault, kidnapping, and or murder, make sure the mark is deserted!

Disclaimer. The preceding is intended for "entertainment purposes" only. It is not intended to set you on your road to a life of crime. If you get busted for breaking into a house, don't even think you can use this article to get the judge off your ass. You know damn well it's illegal and wrong, so don't play the game if you're not willing to take the penalty.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Great Jewel Heist

My holy roller parents raised me up to be an honest, God Fearin Christian Woman, but to their great dismay I went 180 degrees in the opposite direction. If it was dirty, I wanted to put my hands in it. Loud? Turn it up. Smelly, icky, or otherwise something only boys should be interested in? Count me in. In hindsight, they would have been better off using that money they spent on my classical piano lessons to put a good criminal attorney on retainer.

My first big crime was committed at the ripe old age of 4, and I still see it play out as if it happened yesterday, though many of the surrounding circumstances have long since faded into blur. I remember holding mom's hand as we wandered around a store, some 70s version of a Walgreens or perhaps it was a five and dime store, and staring at all the things I and my brothers were forbidden to have. Candy. Chocolate. Gum, the kind that had sugar in it and popped. We were only allowed to have Trident and sugary treats were absolutely off limits in our household, as was salt, butter, and everything else that made food worth eating.

At the counter, while mom paid for her purchases, my eyes landed upon a wonderous treat, one so enticing that I saw nothing else around me. A great red diamond shaped cherry sucker, mounted atop a yellow plastic ring, dangled right in front of me. To my mind, it was the goodie of all goodies available in that store, a tantalizingly sweet jewel the size of my fist, and I had to have it. Of course, asking mom was out of the question. The only answer that lay there was a stern, resounding "NO", or worse, an offer of roasted soybeans to snack on as an alternative. As if. However, mom wasn't paying any attention, nor was anyone else. Almost without thinking, I quickly palmed the candy ring into my pocket. For a moment, fear enveloped me as what I was doing sunk in. I was STEALING, and God himself had said Thou Shalt Not. However, it wasn't God's wrath I feared, but that of my father should I get caught.

Then the fear evaporated, and was replaced by an even more powerful feeling that to this day I am unable to fully describe. Euphoria, excitement, and a not insignificant amount of smugness washed over me as we left the store and I realized that I had not been caught, not been snatched by my shirt collar by an irate shopkeeper, had indeed made off with the prize of the day. Not only had I stolen something and gotten away with it, but I had gotten something NO one in my family was allowed to possess.

However, being only 4 years old I was neither skilled at deception nor particularly clever, and upon arriving at home I mistakenly believed I was in the clear. While in my room working a puzzle, I unwrapped my cherry ring and greedily popped it into my mouth. The sweet cherry taste was pure bliss to a child who had only been allowed honey for a sweet, and then only as a remedy to soothe a sore throat. It was right about then that my mother barged into my room and caught me. It wasn't that she knew I had it and was lying in wait. She just didn't allow any of us to keep our doors closed, lest we be doing something she didn't approve of. Go figure, I wasn't. She snatched the candy ring from me and demanded to know where I had gotten it. I lied and claimed someone at the store gave it to me. Of course, she saw through that and knew I'd stolen it.

Fifteen minutes later I was at the store, tears streaming down my face, handing over my stolen treat and apologizing for the theft. Of course, the only thing I was sorry about was that I got caught, and privately I chided myself for being so stupid as to pull it out where mom could catch me. I told myself, next time I would not be so easy to catch. Even the terrible beating I got from my father after he got home and was informed of his young daughter's criminal exploits did nothing to disuade me from planning out my next candy jewel heist.

Later that evening, I was afflicted with a headache of enormous proportions. My mother triumphantly exclaimed it was a punishment from God, for my wicked deeds. I didn't know about that, but I did know I felt as if my head were about to explode. Years later I recognize that headache for what it was... and any drug user or caffine addict would to. I was crashing from the adrenline rush that I'd gotten from stealing that .50 candy ring. The high I'd gotten from that simple act of disobedience was so intense that it far outweighed the fear of being caught, of being beaten, or even of incurring the wrath of God, and even while lying in bed on my side unable to sleep on my back from the painful bruises my antics had earned me, I dreamed of the next time I'd be able to steal a piece of candy.

The Great Jewel Heist of my toddler years is decades behind me now, but it was the start of a long, and often very profitable, career in criminal behavior that I did not grow out of until my mid 30s. During that time, many tried to put a stop to my exploits, but neither God, my parents, or the police had any success. What stopped me was waking up one day and realizing it just wasn't cute any more. It wasn't funny, and it wasn't really that much fun either. Having my name appear in the local paper under the Police Reports was embarassing, and the quality of your friends greatly declines when word gets out that you're a theif. Do I miss the rush? You bet your ass. I see things on a daily basis that I could boost, and often things I could really use since apparently honest work doesn't pay shit unless you're an AIG exec. However, these days I have a lot to lose, including a great husband, some fantastic friends and neighbors, and a life I'd like to live out without the meddling of a probation officer with half my IQ. The addiction to crime is still there, and I try to satisfy it with obsessively reading true crime stories, watching CSI and Law & Order, and planning a myriad of crimes in my head. It helps, a little. The guys from TLC's To Catch A Thief are my idols. They have my dream job, the ability to b&e without fear of prosecution.

Then again, without the fear of getting caught, I suspect the thrill would be gone.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


It would be easy to excuse my misspent youth (and not so youth) to the influence of those around me. "Peer Pressure" was something my mother was convinced was the root of all evil. "Don't give in to peer pressure!" she shrilled at me on a near daily basis, though she of all people should have known that if I did something, it was because it was my idea to start with. If anything, I was the unintentional leader. From that cherry jewel ring at the impossibly young age of 4 up until the last thing I ever stole in my mid 30s, I did it all not because some goofy friend was egging me on (though I did have my fair share of those), but because I WANTED to.

When I planned out my first B&E at the age of 14, I did it all by myself. There were no friends to encourage or goad me forward. My idea, start to finish.

The first car I jacked, a 57 Chevy truck with a bad paint job and, as I found out the second I tied the wires, no mufflers, was my idea. Oh I was coached by a boyfriend with a long history of car theft, but in the end, I and I alone crept up to that truck in the wee hours of the morning, wire cutters in hand, heart in my throat. Not once did I consider turning and running back to our truck.

My best friend in college, who elevated stealing shoes and electronics to an art form and helped me hone my shoplifting skills to a degree I never thought possible, can't carry any of the blame either. She may have helped me improve my technique, but I'd have kept boosting crap without her guidance and encouragement. She also smoked and drank like a $2 whore, but I didn't pick up either of those tricks from her simply because they held no interest for me.

It was never about the stuff I obtained, though I won't pretend the money I made from selling it wasn't sweet. Being able to wear high end designer clothing that I could never have afforded was a nice perk as well, but all that was just the icing on the cake. The real goal was the incredible rush I got during the planning and execution. Compare it to Christmas, if you will. All excitement and fun up until the moment you're sitting on the floor, surrounded by wrapping paper and now empty boxes, and you realize it's all over. The real fun wasn't in the gift, but in the anticipation of it.

Adrenaline junkies are nothing new. Extreme sports are full of them, people who travel the world in search of their next high in the form of base jumping, snow boarding out of helicopters, racing motorcycles, etc. Had I been more athletic I might have turned to sports instead of crime, but back then my only experience with sports was being forced to play basketball by my mother. Being very short and very white, I was an abject failure on the court and the subject of much derision by my teammates. Depriving my teammates of their valuables whilst no one was watching went a long way towards easing the pain, but I still hate team sports like basketball, softball, and above all, volleyball. I know, fuckin wah, but unless it's a sport where I'm allowed to beat the shit out of the other players (god I love boxing and hockey), I'm just not interested in playing. There's no rush in it for me.

Actually I begged my mom to let me take martial arts as a kid, but she refused on the basis that it would teach me to fight, and therefore make me an aggressive kid. She enrolled me in more ladylike pursuits, such as piano lessons, "safe sports" like softball and basketball, and art lessons. Perhaps if I'd gone to wu shu classes instead of 15 years worth of mind numbingly boring piano, I might have gone a different path.

Or maybe not.