Sunday, December 2, 2012

Theives: A Dime A Dozen

Recently I posted about my maid stealing from me. While working to let the earring incident go, a thief struck again. This time it wasn't my maid, it was a well known local beggar, whom we regularly give to.
Last Saturday I was getting ready to go to a charity event. I was in the bedroom putting the finishing touches on the day's look and my husband was laying on the bed and we were talking. We had our front door pushed closed, but not latched. Suddenly it burst open and I looked out into the hall but didn't see anyone. My husband got up from the bed and went outside to see if anyone was there. He saw this local beggar standing outside our gate, and in usual form, gave him some money. Strangely, the beggar didn't beg for more, like he always does. He just took what my husband gave him and off he went. About 15 minutes later as I was taking a quick inventory of my purse, I realized my wallet was missing.
So we called our watchman who said he saw the beggar push our door open and asked him what he was doing. The beggar told him that we were sleeping, so he was leaving. My husband and watchman then jumped on my husband bike and went to search the neighborhood for him. When they didn't have luck, we headed to the police station to file a report.
In true Indian police fashion, the first 15 mins or so of our visit was spent getting scolded by the police for leaving the wallet on the table, not latching the door, etc. My husband tried to explain to them how our building was layed out and that the beggar had to come in the gate, up the stairs, etc. to get to our place. Finally, after a lot of convincing, the police allowed me to fill out a report. This consisted basically of me writing a letter to the police chief on a blank (not even lined) piece of paper explaining what happened and asking for his assistance. Lame.
So after I filled out the "report" to their satisfaction, my husband again had to meet the inspector. He convinced them to come to our flat and see the layout so they could better understand that it wasn't so easy for the beggar to get inside. Finally the inspector agreed and two officers followed us home.
On the way we met up with one of the beggars friends. The police questioned him, but he wouldn't give up the identity of his friend, out of fear for his own family. I explained I didn't care about the cash that was in the wallet, but if he could please return the cards, we could consider the matter closed. The contents of the wallet included my US bank card, US credit card, Indian Salary Card, PAN card, Social Security Card, US Drivers license, all of my loyalty cards, my rs5 bill collection, immunization records, and a few other things.....
Once the police saw our flat, they understood that a bit of an effort had to be made on the part of the beggar to get his hands on my wallet. Even considering that, they scolded the watchman with a message to the owner that better watch should be taken over the property. They assured us they would do their best to apprehend the guy, and away they went.
My husband then took me out to buy a new wallet which really seemed unnecessary considering I had NOTHING to put in it.
So naturally nothings happened in the last week, other then me trying to get all of my cards replaced. So far only my salary card has been received, but I am fighting with the bank over the PIN so as of yet, I have no access to cash. I couldn't even reorder my PAN and Drivers License because you have to pay for it and I don't have an active credit or debit card to bill it to. When the delivery guy came to drop off my new salary card, I had to really convince him it was me since I have no ID proof.
Today my husband took a drive around the neighborhood to see if he could spot the guy. He went back to the police station who advised him of the area the guy stays in. My husband spoke to some shop owners in the area, who advised him the guy's a big time thief and drug user. They also told him he hangs around the cricket ground near the masjid my husband goes to, so he went there and talked to the Imam. Thankfully everyone he met today was just as eager to get this guy caught as we are and they all took his number so they could notify him if they saw the guy.
At this point, any sympathy I had for him (thinking he was just desperate and maybe stealing to feed his kids) is completely gone and I've pretty much decided that I won't be dishing out a single rupee to a single beggar. EVER. AGAIN.


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  2. I understand that this whole incident wasn´t only a disturbance for your and your husband but in some ways a major issue: considering all the run around for your papers. And thinking about some of my friends who got stolen from in their own apartment I can also imagine that one loses some easiness in one´s own home, now feeling compelled to always lock the door etc.

    Now, I do think differently about the beggar. Drug addiction is a horrible and painful disease. It consumes you. I feel for the people who are addicted, especially in a country that leaves so few options to get off of drugs. I think when we give beggars or homeless people money it is their decision to use it to their own benefit. I don´t mind if it´s invested into drugs. But that´s just me.

  3. I don't mind at all what any beggar spends money I GAVE them on, but when they help themselves to the money on my dining table, I take issue. Thanks as always for your comment, Lyn! Hope 2013 treats you well.

    1. Happy New Year to you, too!

      In my comment I was only referring to your last sentence. I didn´t want to get too personal - if I was, I apologize. When it comes to drug addiction and homelessness I am more than sensitized - having an occupational and personal connection to both.

      Lets wait until the first person will break into Aditya´s and my apartment and see what I gonna write then. Feel free to remind me then of my words here:)

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