Life kicked ME in the nuts. I kick back!

So last night, some thieving, bottom-feeding piece of shit kicked the window of my condo, climbed inside and took off with my 360, all my games, and my laptop that has all of my personal information of the last several years on it.

After I called the police and got over my initial shock, I reverted into the aspect of my personality I’m most in touch with and best at functioning under: Get-Shit-Done Mode.

Now, aside from the extreme shittiness of getting robbed, this is actually a really interesting problem solving opportunity. What do you do when someone potentially has all of your personal information and could do absolutely anything they wanted to with it? What countermeasures can you take to stop him from screwing with your life? The scope is enormous and the possibilities are really fucking unpleasant. Where should I start?

First off, find out what he took.

* My Xbox 360.
* All nine of my 360 games (many recently purchased.)
* My laptop.
* The beer from my fridge (oh, you ASSHOLE!)

All things considered, that’s not bad. He left a lot of other valuables behind, and I appreciate that much.

Second, empower the police as much as possible.

The police can track stolen goods via serial numbers, so that if they show up at a pawn shop, they’re run through the police database to check to see if they’re stolen. If so, red flag, and I get my stuff back. Yay!

I wisely purchased a warranty with my 360 when I got it a couple years ago, and it had my serial number on it. I wrote it down. Then I called Dell to get my laptop’s serial number. I gave both to the police. I also reported both as stolen to their respective companies so all future support to those devices will be forbidden, making them a lot less useful. :)

Third, find out what information on me he has.

He left my desktop PC but took my laptop, which is slightly out of date but still has all my information on it. I have a perfect mirror of my laptop’s My Documents folder on my desktop PC, so I started poring through it to see exactly what sensitive files he had access to. Unfortunately, it’s pretty bad.

* All my bookmarks.
* Quicken.
* Bank statements.
* All my bank account numbers.
* What few passwords I’d scrawled here and there (stupid, I know.)

Essentially, my liability here is HUGE. To protect myself, I’ll essentially have to sever every meaningful financial tie I have, sever myself from all my normal resources, and create an entirely new support structure for my life on paper and survive in the meantime. I may even have to get a new social security card over this. I have no choice. I can’t risk not doing it.

This is pretty bad, but I can work with this. :)

Fourth, make a to-do list and do it.

* Delete bookmarks remotely. (see below)
* Generate list of compromised passwords.
* Generate list of every website I need to change my password on.
* Close all bank accounts and reopen them with new numbers.
* Cancel all debit and credit cards and get new ones.
* Schedule glass installation.
* Schedule security system installation.
* Install window clamps\locks on every window.

The first and fastest thing I could do to protect my data was to delete all my bookmarks remotely. See, I have a bookmark synchronizer called Foxmarks that syncs all my bookmarks to a remote server so they’re the same on every PC I use. Great app. So I immediately saved a local backup of all my bookmarks, deleted all the bookmarks, then synced to the server so there wouldn’t be any bookmarks there. Now, the next time he starts Firefox from my stolen laptop, it’ll automatically sync to the server and delete ALL the bookmarks on that machine. Zing!

So I worked through the rest of the list point by point. I created all-new passwords and threw out ones I’ve used for years. I called my banks and cancelled accounts I’ve had for years and opened new ones. I’ve been cutting up all my credit and debit cards because I can only assume they’ve been compromised. I changed my passwords on nearly 25 websites I use on a daily basis because there’s a possibility they could be compromised.

Fortunately, I just got a new credit card that’s not recorded ANYWHERE, so I can live off of that for a few days while I wait for my new ones to come in.

I scheduled what appointments I could, then went to Home Depot for all the security measures I need to secure my home. I installed these badass window clamps on every single window and sliding door in my condo, and put dowel rods in the other appropriate locations so the doors and windows won’t open.

I also installed a stronger light bulb out on my porch to better the lighting situation and decrease the chances of this happening again. My next step after that is to start installing even more powerful outdoor lighting so the potential entry points are better lit than they were before, and won’t be as appealing a target as they used to be.

I’ve arranged for an glass repairman to come out and fix the glass on Monday, and also for an alarm company to come out ASA-fucking-P to install an alarm system. I’d really like it if the alarm system offered all manner of horribly lethal countermeasures but I’m not sure if I’ll be that lucky.

I’m tentatively planning to buy a gun or two to keep around the house and get all that taken care of from a legal licensing standpoint, in the offchance that anyone should break in while I’m home so I can immediately riddle their body with hot shrieking lead death and snatch their joke of a life right out of them. As is my Texas-given right! :) Yay Texas.

So far I’ve actually already done about 95% of everything I need to do to legally, financially, and personally protect myself and my privacy. It’s just a few more little steps and I’ll be done. It’ll all be more or less done in an evening and a day.

In a weird way, as much as this sucks, this was exciting and fun just because I’ve never had to deal with a mindfuck like this before. It makes me feel powerful to be able to take shit like this and flip it on its head and just take care of business like it’s anything else, without getting cloudy or stupid or seizing up. I’m even a little proud of myself for it.

So, let’s see what the next few days bring!

13 thoughts on “Life kicked ME in the nuts. I kick back!

  1. As ever, you ASTOUND me with your ability to face crises proactively and productively.

    Though I’m guessing that the idea of killing someone isn’t actually as thrilling to you as you’ve framed it here, I can certainly understand your anger and frustration.

    Good luck seeing your way through to the end of this; you’re already off to an excellent start.

  2. Here are a few home invasion tips from parts unknown:

    39. Always have heavy metal playing loudly all the time with all the lights on.

    6B. regularly invite over the toughest, ugliest people you can find.

    F22-k. Barring all windows, sit poised in a rocking chair with a loaded shotgun pointed at the door at all times.

  3. Chris: You forgot number 2B; Cover the outside of every window with a fine metal mesh, then connecting said metal mesh to the mains.

  4. Don’t forget to call MSFT to trace your 360 :)

    Oh and rig up some filament wire in unfriendly locations ;)

  5. One helluva post there Jon. I agree with Brian about your astounding ability to combat problems with positive productive solutions. Lots of helpful info dealing with security as well. Some things i never would have thought of. I’ve already removed my password list from my MACbook and PC (after reading this post of course:). Well I hope ya get your stuff back my friend.
    “man….he didn’t have to take the beer.”

  6. Great post. Despite the hassle of reorganising half your life, there’s also a measure of satisfaction in doing it because every card cancelled or new piece of information handed to the police is one more way in which you’re sticking it to the fuckwit who robbed you and making his “effort” less and less profitable. I was attacked and robbed two weeks ago and got the majority of the Shit Needing Done within two days. Being productive and useful with a helping of righteous pissed-offness is a great antidote to the shittiness of having your rights violated – a piece of lowlife scum like that just DOESN’T get to turn you into a victim.

    Was your laptop new enough that it would have a GPS tracker?

  7. Brian, I really appreciate you saying that. :)

    Yeah, I’ve cooled on the violent tendencies. It’s just the feeling of total impotence and loss of power, control and safety that made me lash out. I’ve calmed down quite a bit now and made peace. Although, if someone were to break in while I was home, he’s unquestionably in for at least some degree of pain. :)

    Chris, that’s fantastic advice you have. You wanna come over?

    Vidar, I like that idea a lot. Although the mailman and groundskeepers may not. ;)

    NateE, dammit! Yeah! I keep forgetting to call MS. I really will now.

    Dwayne, thanks dude. Appreciate the kind words. Part of my coping mechanism for awful shit is deferring my emotional responses long enough to figure out what the best thing to do is, then doing it. This one was rather taxing, however…

    Louisa, you are *exactly* right. Taking charge of all my shit again was the only thing I could really do to fight back… the only thing I could do that wouldn’t make me feel totally powerless. And it was a great feeling to be so on top of everything.

    I’m so sorry to hear you were hit too! But it sounds like you dealt with it intelligently and got to channel your emotions in a productive and generally satisfying manner. Boy oh boy I love finding situations like that. :)

    And no, ‘fraid not, no GPS tracker. :( Otherwise I’d be out with my GPS unit in one hand and a shotgun in the other! hehe.

    Adam, thanks man!

  8. I really hope you catch whoever did this to you, but after reading some of your earlier post on getting rid of possessions, who needs that stuff anyway, the beer was the worst thing they took.

    It sucks to have things taken and to know someone else was in your space. Hope you the best.

  9. Small update.

    After an attempted break-in to my Myspace, I was broken into again physically three weeks after this. The alarm I had installed scared the motherfucker off, and he got away with absolutely nothing. Still $300 out of pocket to fix the broken window, though.

    My insurance kicked in and paid me back for basically everything I lost, minus random “depreciation” bullshit. I’m going to use the money to pay off my credit cards instead of replacing what was stolen. I’ve made do without my laptop and my 360, and I’m content merely having a PC and finding other ways to spend my time.

    I’ve installed several more countermeasures and bought many a useful device to protect me in case of a breakin while I’m home, assuming the fucking bastard can even make it in successfully.

    I started feeling relatively safe in the neighborhood again until last week when some fucknut started breaking into peoples’ mailboxes and stealing their mail. So I’m pretty much back to square one in terms of satisfaction in living here.

    But I’m hanging in there and entrenching myself, and just *waiting* for the ghetto-ass trash piece of shit apartment complex I live next to to be razed to the ground and replaced with expensive condos this year or early next. It’s only a matter of time. Run the riff-raff out!

    Too bad you can’t thin ’em out like deer season, eh?

  10. Yeah, too many people that don’t want to work to get things in this world. It’s sad. Just be careful your countermeasures don’t end up injurying the jerk or they might sue you. What a world.

  11. That’s good, though remember in TX even just the genitals can sue, so destroy those first. Fire purifies.

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