The recent rash of home invasions in the Northern Liberties area made me value my home’s new front door. The steel-enforced door with its wide angle viewer peep hole offers a view of the street that’s a lot like looking through a fun house mirror. People standing in front of my house appear closer than they really are, so the peep hole acts as a pair of binoculars. Faces appear somewhat misshapen but someone standing up close to the door, directly in front of the hidden peep, gets full X-ray exposure: I can literally count every pore and blemish on their face.
Jehovah’s Witnesses, eager Mormon missionaries, and door-to-door Verizon FIOS salespeople all get their Cecil B. DeMille close-up when they come knocking. Of course, a peep hole is no guarantee that your home won’t be invaded. If you see a face that looks “nice,” you’re still likely to be fooled, since the devil often comes disguised as an angel.
Home invasions are not funny occurrences by any means, and I wouldn’t want to minimize their seriousness—in fact, I can think of nothing more terrifying than being told to lay face down on the floor with your hands tied behind your back, and to “wait.”
This is why the two “men” responsible for the recent Northern Liberties home invasions need to be apprehended.
If you’re wondering why I put the word men in quotation marks, listen up: In surveillance camera photos of the suspects’ one can see that one of them looks very much like a woman. This is more than a casual resemblance. Everything about the formation of the eyes and the eyebrows on this person is definitely feminine. In discussing this fact with a friend, we both agreed that the news media should play this up by fixating on the fact that one of the suspects is a) either a woman, or b) a petite pretty man who looks like a woman. Why is this important? Well, given the aggressively masculine character of most street thugs, such a comparison would irritate the thug no end, since that mindset often considers “injuries” to one’s masculinity as the “crime of crimes,” certainly way above real injuries they might inflict on innocent people during the course of a home invasion.
Being labeled “the Hermaphrodite Duo” might then cramp their style and cause them to get caught sooner than they’d be caught otherwise. As they say in old crime dramas: whatever it takes…
While I have great faith in my peep hole, I’m not so sure about con artists who might appear at the front door as “angels.”
Not too long ago, as a seller of some items on Craig’s List, I invited someone into my home as a prospective buyer. He was to pick up a number of art works I was selling. Instead of completing the sale this person demanded my wallet, and then, when the $30 that I handed him wasn’t enough, forced me to give him my debit card and password.
“I only need $100.00,” he said, trying not to appear greedy. “I won’t take anymore. I’ll bring the card back and show you the ATM receipt.”
“Why don’t I just write you a check,” I said, throwing in another layer of absurdity.
“You can cancel a check,” he said, apparently forgetting that one can also call the bank and cancel a debit card. “How would you like your cat thrown out of my car along I-95?” he added, getting tough.
Classy guy, I thought, wondering how much crack had acidified his brain.
“I’ll tell you what,” I said, handing him a recently cancelled debit card from the back of my wallet, “Take the damn thing, withdraw the money, but leave the cat alone.”
It never hurts to exaggerate nervousness in situations like this (those old college acting classes come in handy), and so I let my hand shake as I wrote out the bogus password to the dead card.
Had I been a Clint Eastwood type I suppose I would have hit him on the head with a kitchen spatula, but fights like that only tend to ruin furniture and break glass. Dead heroes may get great eulogies, but they’re still dead.
The minute the invited invader left I called the police. Sweet justice, I thought, but no—I was about to receive another shock. Because I had invited the invader into my house rather than being the victim of a forced entry, there was some question as to whether I could press charges. Further communications with the local Police District also proved futile.
What’s even stranger is that recently this same invader telephoned me after months of no contact and wanted to know if I had anything more to sell.
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