Day 123: The Break In

We knew it would happen at least once.  We even tried to mentally prepare for it, wondering what would be stolen first.  Like most responsible travelers, we also made sure we had travel insurance.  But the truth is, unless you’ve gone through something like this before, there really is no way to prepare for…The Break In.

The screened window in the girls’ upstairs bedroom

So, what happened?  Saturday night, while we were sleeping, a stranger scaled the walls of our home, traversed the roof, and swung himself into the screened window of our daughters’ second floor bedroom, while they were fast asleep.  Unbeknownst to us, the screens slide open easily in order to have access to the storm covers, so it was not difficult at all for our intruder to gain access.

Once the burglar entered, he ransacked the room, stealing anything of value he could find.  Unfortunately, Mikayla’s laptop and a few other valuables were at the top of his list.  She had worked late on her blog the night before, and exhausted, placed her laptop by the side of her bed, in plain view.  Thankfully, Mikayla and Kathryn didn’t hear a thing, and continued to sleep soundly.  We didn’t know until later how thankful we should have been!

We’re not sure what happened at that point, but we have our theories.  Ryan and I were up very late that night, until almost 2am, as we had had a very heavy work schedule that week and were trying to wrap up some things.  We suspect that the burglar did not realize we were still awake when he entered the girls’ bedroom; however, in the middle of the break in, he may have heard us and decided to flee.  We suspect this because only things from Mikayla and Katie’s room were taken (at least, that is all we’ve identified up until now).  We found the house keys missing, however, so he must have grabbed them on his way down the stairs, and then he let himself out through the patio’s glass sliding doors, as we found them unlocked the next morning.

The Policia were asking if there were other valuables they had missed?! Not sure exactly how to answer that one. 🙂

We first contacted the owner of the house, to get a little direction.  She contacted Miguel and his wife Ty, who help manage the property.  They were wonderful!  They dropped everything that morning, and came over to help us through the whole process, contacting the policia themselves, and then being present when both the security guards and the policia arrived to ask questions and investigate.  While all the drama was going on, we invited their two sons in for a swim and a little pizza party.  It helped to lighten the mood!  It was probably one of the highlights of the day for our kids.  (Gracias, Miguel and Ty, for sharing your little ones with us!)

Miguel’s wife, Ty, helping convey the details to the policia

A week later, we are still trying to process the break in.  I don’t mean the logistics of what happened and why, but the invasion itself.  Obviously, our first reaction when we woke up that morning was one of fear, initially followed by relief that none of the kids had been hurt.  Our relief came from a false sense of safety, though, because the assumption we made was that thieves in this area meant no harm, and were only there to see what they could get.  If we startled or surprised them, we assumed they would just run.

The Policia conducting their investigation

WRONG!  The policia and our Spanish teachers quickly corrected our misconceptions.  Often, they told us, ladrones (the word for thieves) come armed with knives and guns, and they are prepared to use them if they are startled.  Sometimes they are looking for money for drugs, so the scenario is often not a safe one.  We had NO idea!  We have felt really safe in this area, because it is a very touristy area, but life is different outside the safety of security walls and guards  in the resort areas.  Now we know.

So what should we be feeling?  Well, there are a number of reactions people have when they know their home has been invaded, their space intruded upon. The worst, however, is knowing that it happened when not only you, but your precious children slept peacefully in their beds.  The knowledge that a stranger was inches away from the the girls was and is still frightening.  When this knowledge makes its way past the shock and surreal feelings, it could have had a paralyzing affect, and I have to admit, that first night after it happened, I was unable to sleep.  I was up every few minutes, listening carefully for noises, getting up to look around, and even once, getting poor Ryan out of bed because I was sure someone was in the house again.  I was tempted to stand guard by my kids’ beds!  I know, a little crazy.

But this didn’t last long.  While it may be easy to struggle with loss of trust, fear, anger, frustration, etc., we knew we needed to turn this over to the Lord.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Phil. 4:6-7

These verses may be very familiar but the question is…do we really believe them?  Can we have a spirit of thanksgiving or feel true peace, knowing how fragile our lives are?  Knowing that there are actually people surrounding us that mean us harm and not good?  Yes, because God’s grace  sustains us day by day.

“Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord.”  Zech. 4:6

6 Comments on “Day 123: The Break In

  1. Oh my…I can imagine your fear and anxiety. I’m also furious because certain people in this world choose to prey on others and it’s so wrong. But I know you’re right and that we have to believe that God is in control of every inch of this world and he will prevail and he alone gives us peace. So thankful for that. Grateful that you have good friends who are dependable and who help you. Blessings!

    • Thanks, Laurie. Yes, we’ve been blessed with some very kind friendships here in Playa del Carmen. They formed early and have deepened since. We will definitely miss the friendships when we leave. Thanks for your message.

  2. We are so glad to hear that your girls slept through the whole thing and that no one was harmed. We have been traveling and living in Mexico for almost 9 months now. We also tried to prepare ourselves for a break-in at some point. Ours came this summer in Merida where we awoke to an intruder in our private courtyard attempting to open up the gate to our bedroom door. Luckily we scared him off but the whole family was beyond freaked out and we ended up leaving Merida early. Just recently in Playa del Carmen we came home to find that someone had unscrewed the screens of our bedroom windows. They were apparently hoping to find the windows unlocked and slide them open. Our one take home lesson from all this is that bars on doors and windows is the way to go. They do wonders to keep the intruders out and you can still let the fresh air in at night!

    • Oh wow, that is so unfortunate! I’m glad to know no one in your family was hurt either. It can be frightening, can’t it? You never know how someone will react when the unexpected happens. People panic when caught. Our Spanish teacher has had her home broken into four times. It’s incredible to know that. The last time was the worst for her, though, as they were also home sleeping with their adult daughter in the room next to theirs. No one heard a thing, so thankfully again, everyone was ok. But she had to go back to locking all windows at night, which is a shame, especially because they do not have air conditioning. Thanks for your message. I’ll have to check out your blog and read about your adventures too! 🙂

  3. Oh my goodness, you dear, dear loved ones!!! I have tears as I read this, wishing you were back here. Yes, I’m being selfish, so sue me, LOL. I am very VERY thankful the Lord was protecting your precious children. Thankful for the good people in your life right now. What a shame, but then again, this is the world we live in. I’ll say a prayer tonight for you and your precious family, dear one.

    • Thank you so much, dear Tracey. We are so thankful too, and really miss our church family back home as well. Wish we could fly to Chicago for the weekend before heading west. Love to all of you. Please give everyone huge Tracey hugs from the Gainors!! XOXO

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