Saturday, December 28, 2013

2 Minutes to Lose an iPad, a Passport and a Wedding Ring

I (Jimmy) drove to Guate last week to pick up my in-laws and bring them back to Petén. Coming into town I had a list of things to pickup while in the city. I was going to run errands the morning before they arrived, but I decided to just swing by a couple places before going to the hotel that night. My Walmart stop was about as uneventful as Walmart can be a few days before Christmas and right behind the Walmart was a new Office Depot so I decided to swing by and pick up some laminating sheets for Shelley. Between church, the Institute and our own kids Shelley goes through laminating sheets like crazy.

I am aware that during Christmas time, things are much more dangerous in Guatemala than usual so as I pulled into the Office Depot I looked for a security camera and a parking lot light right in front of the store. I also put my iPad under the seat just so it wasn't sitting out. Beyond that, we have very dark tinted windows, but I didn't want the light to be just right so maybe somebody wouldn't be able to resist a smash and grab.

I bought my stuff and came back outside and drove off. As I got to the other side of the highway, I realized something was off. Music wasn't playing when I got in like when I left. It said the passenger door wasn't completely close and when I reached to close it I realized none of my cables were there. Then I lifted my hoodie off the seat and saw there was no bag either. Frantically looking under the seat hoping they missed it, I realized my iPad was gone too. I drove back to the store and turned on the lost my iphone feature hoping maybe it was a parking lot guard that stole it and the iPad was close, but whoever had taken it had already turned it off (it still hasn't been turned on).

As I inspected the car I saw they had stuck something into the passenger lock and unlocked that door leaving a hole where your key would enter.
After waiting for about an hour for the security company to do something I was able to watch the security footage. A fancy four door black pickup truck pulled into the parking lot next to my SUV and exactly 2 minutes later drove off. Here's the video footage of them pulling out of the parking space.

video

Exactly three weeks ago Office Depot Guatemala stopped paying for guards in the parking lot at night. The guards go home at 7pm. The security company was happy to take my report though so that maybe Office Depot will renew their contract.

The guard for the parking lot next door had just walked away and came back just in time to see the truck drive away.

Another SUV was broken into the night before in the exact same parking spot.

While I was standing waiting for the security company I went to fiddle with my ring like I often do and it wasn't there. I remembered that I had taken it off because I had spent the last several days working on Shelley's parents' room and my fingers had swelled, so I had removed my wedding ring. Not wanting to lose it, I placed it on a keychain and put it in the front zipper pocket of my backpack... the same bag they took. This was the one irreplaceable item since Shelley had it engraved right before our wedding 9.5 years ago.

 Also, Shelley's passport was in the bag, with the receipt to pick up her new one (since this one was expiring soon). It has all of her immigration stamps, so that's several days of paperwork to file all the applicable reports and immigration office wait time... Besides taking the iPad, they also ripped out all the cables in the dash.

I am very thankful I had all my cash in my pocket instead of leaving it in my bag. Also, my passport and Guatemalan checkbook were in my driver's side door and those were untouched. More than anything else I'm thankful that Shelley and the kids weren't in the vehicle waiting for me like they usually are especially now that we know locked doors don't stop people like this that know what they are doing.

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