A letter to the guy who smashed my car window and stole my purse

I feel like I need to give a little background to this post. A few weeks ago, I was parked in the evening in a Starbucks parking lot working on my blog. I had worked all day at the middle school at my other job as a substitute teacher.  So while my daughter was at cheer practice, I took the opportunity to get some of the work on the blog done that I had neglected that day.  I had Pandora pumping on my phone and was sipping on some decaf tea and was generally enjoying my evening.
This evening at Starbucks had become a sort of tradition on the two days a week that my daughter had cheer. I was getting to know the baristas and I had my refillable drink order down. In fact, one of the baristas had just offered me a snack platter for free {my favorite price!} since it was nearing it's expiration and had to be tossed out that night.  All was well with my world.

As I prepared to depart the Starbucks at their 8 pm closing time, I thanked the baristas and wished them well, before heading into the dark rainy night to retrieve my daughter from cheer practice.
When I got to my car, my feet crunched on the ground. I climbed into the front seat and realized that something wasn't right. There was wind and rain rushing in from behind me and I turned around to see that my back car window had been smashed in and my car had been riffled through. My purse, that I had tucked under my middle console, had been taken, a bag full of DVD's that we had borrowed from a friend that I was on my way to return to them, were missing and the backpack that I had bought from Target on clearance and planned to craft on for an upcoming craft bazaar had been snatched from the front seat.  

In hindsight, it was the perfect car for a car prowl and the thieves hit the jackpot.  I wrote a little letter to the thief to let them know some of my thoughts.

Dear thief,
Your desperate attempt to get cash and credit cards worked for you. I don't think like a criminal so I didn't realize that by leaving a tissue stuffed backpack on it's way to be returned was going to lure you into my car. It did. I'm sorry it was only stuffed with tissue paper and not filled to the brim with electronics like you had probably hoped.  

Despite the fact that I was parked in a fairly busy parking lot facing a restaurant, you were bold enough to still break the window of my car. I wonder what other crimes you have been bold enough to commit? I pray that you use your boldness to speak up and advocate for yourself in the future, rather than resorting to criminal activity.

I hope that when you stole my favorite purse you did more than just pull the wallet out and ditch it into a dumpster. I hope that you are enjoying that buttery leather messenger bag as much as I did. 
I hope that while you were looking for cash, you stopped to read the sermon notes that I had taken over the past few weeks. That you read about God's love for you, a thief, and that He's the greatest gift. Though you probably feel like the greatest gift to you right now was the cash I had stashed in my wallet from selling goods that I had handmade.

It's shallow, but I really liked that drivers license picture. I remember getting that picture taken with a toddler tugging at my pants leg and smiling the most relaxed smile because motherhood is one of my favorite things in this world. I hope that while you flipped through the photo book that I've had in my purse for more than a decade that you saw the faces of children and parents who loved each other very much.

While you didn't make me question the fact that there is good in this world {I'm thankful that I am already well aware of that}, you reminded me of the fact that there is also bad. I'm a glass half full kind of gal and I like to trust and believe in those people that I meet until they prove otherwise. I would like to think that had I walked up to you in the act of the burglary, that I would have offered you the cash that you needed and kind words before I sent you on your way, but unfortunately, I didn't have that chance.

I don't know what your circumstances are that you feel so desperate to resort to thievery, but my hope is that you will become desperate for something else. Perhaps you will feel that spirit of desperation much like Paul did and that you will start seeking Him out. There is a church down the block that I'm sure would welcome you in.

As I've spent weeks replacing the stolen items, I am constantly retelling the story. You have become a part of my life because of your senseless act and as I wait in line at the grocery store or when I lay in bed at night, I remember another thing lost. Another gift card for a lunch date with my husband that I won't use, another craft project I won't create because the supplies were rolling around the bottom of my bag or another family photo that won't be added to the back of a stack of my favorites.

While I can remember that you took only material things, I can't help but think of the violation that you have created. I feel unsafe in areas that I didn't feel unsafe in before. You came into my personal space uninvited and for weeks my car, a car that I have named and called my own for more than a decade, hasn't felt like my own. As a mom of three, my car is an extension of my home since I am sometimes in it more often than I am at home, and you took that sense of security that I felt in it. I'm angry at myself because I knew better than to leave my purse in the car. 

You have taken away my naivete. I park under street lights and will circle grocery store parking lots looking for the most well lit spot. I am ruined for the Starbucks and my few hours of solidarity while I wait for my daughter. Instead, I look around while I wait in my car guarding it for hours while I wait, wondering if the guy with his hands in his pockets or the woman with the shifty look is the one that got away with my things. 

I've learned some life lessons in all of this. Unfortunately, you probably haven't. Despite the police report that was open and closed the next day, there is no reason for the cops to go looking for you. But I hope that one day, you will listen to that gut feeling that tells you that what you are doing is wrong. That you will seek the help that you need and that you will turn your life around and that you will use your life changing story to help bring change in others.


Nana said...

Have mercy! I want to punch that fool in the head.
I am thankful that you were not physically harmed, but... PHOOEY, that makes me so angry.

Karen said...

The thought that always makes me feel better is, "Someday God will make them feel worse than any man could." Not that God MAKES us feel anything, but someday we'll all have our day of judgement, you know? Standing in front of our Heavenly Father, I'm sure that we'll all be acutely, painfully aware of our shortcomings (while still basking in His love). :-)

Anonymous said...

Your post was so helpful you have no idea. Like you, my car window was smashed yesterday. As i shopped inside a walgreeens with my two babies. I left my purse since i had my hands full, they took that plus my phone and my sons diaper bag. I came out and my heart sank when i saw glass om the floor. Im all cried out and everything is replaced. But my world was turned upside down because of this. I got a call from the police saying it was actually a woman, she was caught on camera at target using my stolen card within 20 minutes of me calling 911. It hurt even more to know they saw me, preyed on me and as a woman still chose to do that knowing my babies were with me. Awful... I hope all is well now for you. Im sure i will get there

rachelteodoro said...

I am so sorry that happened to you. It's very violating and certainly makes you look at people in a much different way.

Unknown said...

Your letter is very helpful to me tonight. I too, carelessly left my purse in my car last night (Thanksgiving night) as my husband and I and 2 friends watched a movie at our favorite theater. They smashed the window and took my favorite purse, license, credit cards and phone etc. I got my phone back, using Find My Phone; my husband and I took two hours till midnight tracking it down. The theif had thrown it out the window. Still, I have not been able to stop feeling angry and hopeless since the incident.

I've spent all day, my day off on the phone replacing cards etc. But I am now scared when I wasn't before. They know where I live. We changed the locks , but they have my car keys. I cannot yet bring myself to forgive them even though I used to think of myself as a compassionate person. Ha ! It was easy to be compassionate before anything bad happened to me. You are a bigger person than I am and I thank you for your brilliant letter. I hope to come to that attitude one day.

Anonymous said...

This happened to me this on this past New Year's Eve. I have been troubled since, thinking what ifs. I thought I locked the door and why did I leave my bag inside the car I never do that. I am constantly thinking how this thief/thieves know everything about me. I also had prayer cards in there, if they would have just taken the money and cards and left the bag. There were things in there that could not be replaced. I keep praying I hope someone who knows this person or people who did this will tell them mail the bag back with everything else. I feel so violated too and dumb for this happening. I googled and found your website. I know it was years ago, but I could relate to the letter you wrote. They took our holiday cards I left in there don't know why I didn't grab those either and threw them all over the street. I am angry, scared, and just full of emotions.

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