Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Robbery

A few Saturdays ago, we opened the store to this sight:

Our drawers had been rifled; our cellphones were missing; and our petty cash had disappeared: we had been robbed.

However, instead of getting upset about our losses, we were more befuddled and amazed. Just how had the robber gotten in and out of our place? The most obvious entrance and egress was the broken panel doors up in front.

But here's the kicker: the accordion grilles were intact, as were their padlocks. How could anyone have gotten his head, much less his entire body through such narrow spaces?

If you'll examine the lower left section of the accordion grille, you'll note that that third bar from the left is bent. Still, our minds resisted the idea of an entry through that space. We formulated other theories: that the thief had snuck in late at night as we were closing, and had left another way; or that the thief had gone through the second floor. Yet none of those had any evidence to support it.

So finally, we had to accept the obvious, no matter how improbable it was. Someone had gone through the grilles. And, as we spoke with other people about their own experiences, it wasn't as far-fetched as we first thought. Apparently, they use children, probably eight or nine years old, for such jobs. Working in gangs, the other boys will spread the grilles apart with iron bars just so that the small thief can get his head into the opening. Once the head is in, the rest of the body can easily follow. It's a common method of entry.

Total losses: a few thousand pesos and three old cellphones. We think the thief may have been in a hurry. Quite lucky, too, because he missed the laptop I left in the inner office.