Poor Frank – House Burglary

When we returned from our three week trip to Yabru, we returned to a messy house. Frank (not his real name) had broken into our house. While we don’t know for sure what happened, the clues point to the following probable story.

Frank watched for his opportunity and snuck into the compound around five in the afternoon. After climbing the hill to our house, he slashed the screen, bent a bar out of the way, removed the glass louvres, and let himself into our house. After familiarizing himself with the layout of the house, he made himself at home and commenced working. At some point he was really hungry, so he found a pack of chicken in the freezer, microwaved it, and finished it off. After cleaning his ears and leaving the qtip on the night stand, he had a good night’s sleep in our bed.

Rising early, he continued going through every drawer and closet in the house, collecting anything that he thought was of value or of interest to him and trying on clothes that he liked. It took a bit of time to collect everything because all the tv cables behind the tv had to be disconnected and it took a while for him to discover that unscrewing them worked better then pulling the coax out of the connection. Piling everything into sacks and bilums (string bags), he made a large pile in the kitchen. Stuffing his pockets with small things of value, he was ready to make his great escape with multiple trips that would be necessary to remove all that he had gathered.

Trying the door, he found that the handle would not turn so he started trying keys that he found laying around. Unfortunately, none of them worked! (Our door handle is only a deadbolt. You need a key from the outside but the inside handle just turns. Apparently he either didn’t try and assumed it needed a key, he tried to turn it the wrong way, or it just wouldn’t turn).

Meanwhile, it is now one in the afternoon, and a friend came to check on some maintenance issues with our house. Pushing the door open, he saw all the items piled on the floor and found Frank hiding behind the door. Holding Frank, he called the police who arrived shortly thereafter. After emptying his pockets and making him change back into his clothes, they processed him, took him away, and locked him in a cell.

It was interesting to see the things he was taking. There were the usual electronics, bike, and cash. But there were some things that were also disturbing or puzzling. He was taking a bottle of contact solution (maybe because he thought it was a drink?), some flattened glass marbles used in vases to hold flowers, a carved stone that said “good friends”, and multiple family pictures.

Frank comes from our neighbourhood and is well known in the community. He has issues with drugs, alcohol and a number of other things.

I don’t know how you would react to someone breaking into your house. My wife feels like her life was violated. I believe that everything I “own” belongs to God and I am simply a caretaker. I was amazed a simple door handle wouldn’t turn for him, see God’s hand in how things turned out, and am thankful for God’s protection. My ten year old daughter prays for him every night because the young man needs a change in his life soon before his life choices prove fatal. Sometimes a child’s perspective can teach us what is most important in life.

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