Here is the full story about my recent narrow escape from an attempted home invasion. I hope my experience will help someone else stay safe, if they ever encounter a similar situation. I’m sorry this post is so long, but I didn’t want to leave out too many details.
I woke up early on the morning of Wednesday, December 22, 2022. With the severe weather warnings in mind, I checked our outdoor thermometer and saw that the temperature was 2 degrees above zero. It had fallen from the previous day’s high of 64, in less than 18 hours. (That’s a high of almost 18 Celsius to a low of -16, for those who don’t use our Fahrenheit system.)
According to the news reports, this extreme weather change was caused by a Bomb Cyclone pushing the Arctic Freeze much further south than normal. Here in eastern New Mexico where my husband and I live, we are accustomed to a wide variation of weather. But a freeze this severe is unusual here. After seeing my husband off to a medical appointment, knowing that he wouldn’t be back for several hours, I wrapped myself in a blanket and sat down on the sofa to work on my computer. Even with our furnace running almost nonstop, I could feel the chill in the air.
Alone in the house, with our three dogs curled up on the sofa beside me, I prayed — and tried not to worry. I was worried about my husband driving through the cold, about loved ones traveling this time of year, and worried about our old furnace possibly breaking down, and the water pipes that run through the slab foundation freezing. The last time we had a really bad cold spell, the electrical power grid went out for a short time. What will we do if it happens again?
POP POP SLAM CRACKLE SLAM CRACKLE POP-POP-POP SLAM! A loud, vibrating racket, sounding like nothing that I have ever heard before, came from the vicinity of the front door. Our dogs erupted in frenzied barking, as I put on my slippers and walked to the door.
The loud racket stopped just before I peered through the peephole. Everything looked normal outside. I didn’t see anyone on the porch or in the yard, and none of the heavy branches on our huge mulberry tree had fallen off. I shush the dogs, then open the interior door.
Now I am looking at our glass and metal storm door. It is still closed and double locked. The glass hasn’t cracked or broken. But a sign that I had taped onto the inside of the glass, a notice to deter solicitors, has fallen off and is lying on the floor at my feet. How did that happen? The sign has hung there for years, firmly taped on all four sides, with no indication that the tape was coming loose. Could the single digit temperatures have caused the duct tape to freeze and pull away from the glass? If so, could the tape popping off the glass have caused that loud racket?
I pick up the sign, close and lock the interior door, and return to the sofa. Moments later, I hear a knock on the front door.
I shush the dogs once again and walk back out into the hall. Through the peephole, I see a young woman, someone I have never seen before. She is very pretty and nicely dressed, as though she is on her way to a formal occasion.
I open the interior door and then try to open the storm door. But the upper lock on the metal and glass door is frozen.
“Is Monica there?” asks the stranger on my porch.
“No, there isn’t any Monica here. What’s her address?”
“I don’t know, she just said that she lives on this street.”
The young woman isn’t wearing a coat over her nice outfit. I struggle with the door, trying with all my might to get it opened, so she can come in out of the cold.
“I’m sorry,” I tell her. “I know you must be freezing, but I can’t get this door to open. The lock seems to be frozen solid. I don’t know anyone on this street named Monica. You need to get someplace warm. Take care of yourself. God bless!”
She gives me a strange look before turning away. I watch as she walks across the yard and gets into the passenger side of a white, late model car that is parked on the street. I notice that there is at least one other person in the car.
A few hours later, my stepdaughter calls to chat as she is driving home from work. She is a Sergeant in a nearby county jail. I tell her about my visitor.
“Who goes to a random house during an arctic freeze, looking for someone who lives on this street, when they don’t even know the address where the person lives?”
I did not expect an answer to my rhetorical question, but my stepdaughter had one.
“The people who do that kind of thing end up living where I work,” she said. “It’s called a home invasion. There were probably some other people, waiting around the side of your house where you couldn’t see them. That woman was the decoy, all dressed up to win your trust, so you would open the door and let her in. As soon as the door was opened, her co-conspirators would force their way in behind her. Then they would have tied you up — or worse. And then they would have gone all through the house, stealing anything they can trade for drugs. TVs, computers, any kind of electronics. Antique knickknacks, jewelry, even costume jewelry. They’ll take anything and everything they can get their hands on.”
“Are you serious?” I asked. “But she seemed so nice.”
“It’s all an act, to win your sympathy. And it’s been happening more lately, in this area. The fact that she asked for a person, without giving a last name, and she didn’t know the address where that person lives — that’s a big clue that this was a setup. These people will knock on doors at all hours of the day or night, and ask for ‘Harold’ or ‘Suzie’ or any random name. All they’re doing is trying to get you to open your door. Sometimes they dress up nice, like that woman did. Other times, they wear torn, ragged clothes, and cry that they are starving, or say they are being chased by an abusive boyfriend or that someone is trying to rape them, and they need you to let them in. But it’s all an act, to gain access to your home. If anything like that ever happens, where someone comes crying to your door asking for help, tell them through the door that you are calling 9-1-1. But don’t open the door and let them in!”
My stepdaughter advised me to call the police non-emergency number and report what had happened, so they could be on the lookout. I did, and the officer I spoke with agreed that it sounded like an attempted home invasion. “From now on, Ma’am, if someone comes to your door and you don’t recognize them, don’t even open your inside door. It’s a good thing your lock was frozen! We’re going to patrol your street, and we’ll be on the lookout for this woman you described.”
After talking with the officer, I thought about the weird, loud, rattling, popping and crackling sounds that I had heard shortly before the woman knocked. What could have caused that?
I went to the front door, opened the interior door, and took hold of the handle on the locked storm door. Then I shook the storm door back and forth several times. The glass and metal door does not fit very tightly in its frame. As I shook the door forward and backward, it made the same loud, popping, crackling, and rattling noises that I had heard, right before the knock. So either that woman, or one of her accomplices, had tried to force the door open. When they couldn’t get in that way, then she had knocked.
I am sharing this experience with my blogger friends, because I want you all to be safe out there. Please don’t open your door to strangers. I hope you all are staying safe and warm in this crazy weather. I know the Arctic Freeze and Bomb Cyclone are hurting a lot of people, and I pray that our weather will soon be back to normal. But I am so very grateful that this freaky weather froze the lock on our front door!
© 2022 by Linda Lee Adams @LadyQuixote
Feel free to repost, but please include my copyright. Thank you.