Note: This column appears in the 1/13 issue of The Glendale Star and the 1/14 issue of the Peoria Times
Last week the alarm went off at my in-law’s house here in AZ. The alarm company called my father-in-law, who was back east, to inform him. Being that their house is in our development, he then called us, first to make sure we hadn’t set it off, then to ask if I wouldn’t mind going to check it out. The alarm had been deactivated and the police were on the way.
Assuming it was nothing, I drove over there. It was a sunny Saturday in the middle of the afternoon, and that is when criminals sleep, I figured (I didn’t study Criminology in college, but I know someone who did).
When I arrived at the house the police were not there yet, and I suddenly realized I had forgotten the keys. This was somewhat of a relief because during the three-minute drive my mind began to race with possibilities. What if someone really is robbing the house? What will I do? The only weapons I had available were my cell phone and some coins from my car that I could have placed in my fist … to toss at the crook to blind him as I ran away.
The street was eerily quiet, too. Usually all of their neighbors are out and about, but no one was around. Inside job? Maybe. I called my father-in-law to tell him I was there but forgot the keys. He was so proud. I instead checked the perimeter. I had just finished jogging when he called, so I was wearing a hoodie, and with the way I was hoisting myself up on block walls and peeking through windows made me fear that if the cops had shown up then, I might get tasered myself.
I didn’t see any activity, but the thought of seeing a figure swoop by as I looked into the side window of the front door made me squirm. Realizing that I would be no help to the police without the keys—unless they kicked the door down, which would have been awesome—I rushed back home to get them. As I pulled out of our driveway my wife reminded me to be careful. “These are the risks you take when you marry a guy like me,” I thought. When I arrived back at my in-law’s, the police were thankfully right behind me.
Even with an armed officer of the law at my back, it was a bit unnerving to open the front door. I debated asking him to “cover me” before rolling on the ground as I entered the house, but he didn’t seem in the mood for shenanigans. And neither was I, really.
As we moved through the house, the freaky feeling I had confirmed that if I had remembered the keys in the first place, I would have opened the front door, yelled, “Hello in there?” and left. We made our way to the master bedroom, where the alarm had been triggered. The officer checked behind doors and looked for signs of entry. In an effort to be an active part of the search, I crouched down and looked under the bed. This later struck me as stupid, and I imagined that the officer thought to himself, “Rookie. Kid’s seen too many movies.”
The coast was clear, and nothing was missing. The officer figured the alarm had a glitch. I called my father-in-law to give him the good news: “That’s a negative on forced entry, Eagle One. False alarm. Over.” Man, I should have been a cop.