| David and Martha sat on the front steps of their house, David’s arm around his wife as she leaned into his shoulder and cried tears of heartbreak onto his chest. These were quiet moments of rage and helplessness as they waited for the police with nothing else to do. It was too late to call the insurance company; there were no family members close enough to help out and seemingly all of the neighbors had slept through the ordeal. David and Martha’s home, their house of thirty-seven years had been broken into while they were out for a moonlight walk.
They had left the front door open but the screen door closed as they had done so many times before. When they returned the screen door had been partially ripped from its hinges and the kitchen, the first room they walked into was ransacked, food and cabinet doors littering the floor. Martha had stood paralyzed by fear at first. David became enraged and ran through the house to see if the intruder was still present. They were not. He dialed 9-1-1 and then they went outside, circled the house, made one more trip inside to see if their laptops or jewelry had been taken, and then collapsed on the front steps. Whoever came by didn’t seem to want money or electronics, and they didn’t stay very long.
Sgt. Thompson drove up the driveway in his cruiser, stepped out, and surveyed the couple on the steps, the brightly lit kitchen trashed behind them. “We don’t see much of this in Edgewater, Mr. Monson. I can’t remember our last break in, but let’s get inside and have a look around.”
The three adults walked inside and the policeman carefully made a series of observations: most of the wooden cabinet doors hand been pulled down, or at the very least had been scratched or dented. Sugar, flour, and other dry goods were strewn about the floor and countertops. The fruit basket was turned over and several pieces of whole fruit had rolled onto the floor and into various corners, nooks, and crannies of the room. The pots and pans on the stove were untouched, but the cookie jar was shattered on the floor, with only crumbs to be found. Surprisingly, the refrigerator door seemed untouched, the contents inside exactly as David and Martha had left them.
“You say the TV and stereo weren’t taken?”
“That’s right, Sgt. Or the laptops.”
“How about your jewelry, maam?”
“Nothing was touched, I don’t think.”
“There’s mud on the kitchen floor, but how about the carpeting in the other rooms.”
“It looks like they didn’t leave the kitchen, Sgt.”
“Hmmm.” The Sgt. Offered a quizzical look, but seemed to lack a sense of urgency and he certainly did not share in the couple’s rage at what had happened. In fact, they became a bit irked by his casual demeanor.
The officer walked out of the house, but not before he stopped at the house’s threshold, and bent down to examine the screen with only one hinge saving it from a full pratfall onto the porch. He returned to his car, radioed the station, and began to fill out a form attached to a clipboard. As he wrote he walked back to the house, the startled couple standing in the kitchen with mouths agape as they watched him approach. “What are you filling out?”
“Well, I think we have enough to close this investigation. I’ll need you to sign the report before I leave.”
“Who did this?” asked David.
“And what are you going to do about it?” challenged a clearly distraught Martha.
The Sgt. stopped writing and summarized the facts of the case. “The intruder was clearly not here for financial gain, as they took nothing of value. It wasn’t high school kids looking to score beer, or they would have gone into the refrigerator. They weren’t after blood because they didn’t leave the kitchen. They weren’t skilled burglars because instead of opening the screen door they tried to go right through it. The only real clue is what was left caught in the torn screen in the front door.”
“Who was it?” the couple shouted in unison?
Sgt. Thompson handed the clipboard to David to have him sign it. The lines after description read only, “Bear fur found in the torn screen. House intact but for a destroyed kitchen. Yogi done it.”