True stories with a twist!

CRIME CAPERS

Why is our society infatuated with crime? Why are the majority of best selling books, popular movies and television shows about crime? Why are criminals often the people we root for? Why are the police often portrayed as unintelligent, while the criminals are clever and smart?

Whether it is murder, theft or kidnapping, American people seem to crave stories about it. The more details the better. The gorier the better. The harder to solve the better.

If I write a new book telling the story of our adventurous move out of our old house, would you want to read about it? I can tell a true tale that is crime related, that I experienced, and that was never solved.

This is how it started. My husband and I, “Empty Nesters,” decided to sell the house we lived in for 31 years and downsize.

That’s a nightmare in itself: emptying the contents of an old family home, with all the stories and memories of our family growing up.

After dividing the possessions we would bring and those we would sacrifice to a house sale, we interviewed moving companies.

The one we eventually chose was represented by a well dressed young man who owned “Man With A Van”. “Our moving crew is a group of men who are all legal, well trained, and have been employees of ours for at least ten years.”

That is impressive. These guys are professionals; they are reliable; they’ll treat our valuables with care, we thought.

A friend asked us, “Did you ever investigate his claims about the length of time the crew worked for him?” .

“No, we did not,” we answered with a tinge of guilt.

“Is your thinking that if you are an honest person you assume others are honest too?”.

Bad assumption. Trusting without verifying is dangerous to the bank account, now I realize.

“Did you mark and label every item going into each carton, and number those cartons,” my friend asked? “Did you have an inventory list of the house’s contents?”

“No. The last time we relocated, it was from our army post, and the United States Army moved us. We never made inventory lists, and everything worked out perfectly.”

Leaving our long time family home was traumatic enough, without labeling and accounting for every item we packed.

Once we were in the new house we didn’t realize it right away.

“It has to be here somewhere,” was our reaction when something we couldn’t find was missing.

But when it came time to hang the paintings we brought from the old house, suddenly the panic hit.

“The precious painting we bought in Paris is not here!” The beautiful still life with the glorious, vital colors. We couldn’t believe it was possible.

“How could moving men walk off with an original oil painting and hope to get away with it?”

It turned out that the Paris purchase was not the only painting missing.

“Have you seen the two charming decoupaged baby dresses from the Lambertville gallery? Where are the lithographs and woodcuts that were the first art we ever collected?”

This was no coincidence. This was no  mistake. This was outright, purposeful theft.

“Oh, no,” my husband shouted. “My collection of coins is missing too. Some of those coins were gold coins, worth a fortune now. I told the men not to touch that box. I told them I would carry it myself.”

We found out later, from the detective assigned to our case, that the moving company had lied to us from the first interview. “The group of men who were assigned to move your things had not worked for the company ten years. Ten days would probably be more accurate. Perhaps they were workers picked up in town, where men stand each morning looking for a day’s work. There’s no way to find these men now,” the detective said. “They move from one place to another without leaving forwarding addresses. And there’s no way to prove anything, ever if we caught them.”

Enjoy your crime novels, friends. I know that real crime is not entertaining. I can’t understand why anybody thinks it is.

Comments on: "CRIME CAPERS" (41)

  1. Ronnie, I am so very sorry this happened to you. It happened to my mom and stepdad as well on a cross-country trip. And they chose a carrier like Allied Van Lines – supposedly reputable! The movers stole, among many other things, an antique curved glass china cabinet and a baby grand piano which my mom had painstakingly refinished all herself as I was growing up. Many fine pieces of furniture vanished. And, too, no way of tracing them. So sad.

  2. I am so sorry to hear about your experience moving. But since you only move every 31 years you can’t be too hard on yourself for not checking into them more carefully. I would have done the exact same thing. But that’s what honest people do I guess. We just don’t think like criminals although sometimes we can think like murderers when stuff like this happens! 😀

  3. Oh no! That’s terrible! The last time I moved, I was three. I don’t remember it being a hassle at all. Probably because I was three. I’ll be departing the nest soon, but I don’t expect that to be any sort of trouble, since all I own can fit in one medium-sized suitcase.

  4. I have enjoyed reading your site so I’ve nominated you for the Illuminating Blogger Award for illuminating, informative blog content. You can check out the details at my site … http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/ … Hope you’re having a great Memorial Day weekend!

    • Hi, CJ. Thank you so very much for nominating me for the Illuminating Blogger Award. I am honored to accept this award, and will fulfill the rules that you described on your blog.

      If I wasn’t having a special Memorial Day weekend before, I am NOW!

  5. You are very correct,real crime is not entertaining. Always remember, “Believe in God but tie you horse to the tree”, it always pays.

  6. Excellent work Ronnie thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. Ronnie, this story just made me sick to my stomach! I agree with your other commenters: I can’t “like” this story–it seems cruel and unusual punishment to do so. It isn’t just the value of the merchandise as it is the memories associated with those paintings and coins–they were stolen too. Between my husband and me (because I grew up in the midst of a cagey environment), I suspect everyone and every situation until they are proven innocent. WW thinks everyone is an angel and is always shocked when they take us for a ride. I know there is a balance, but it really “burns my cookies” when someone “gets over” on me. Yuck!

    I hope being able to write about it helps ease the pain somewhat. Cheers!

    • Sorry about my story causing you to have physical symptoms. We still have them, too, whenever we think about the incident.

      I was so trusting. One of the movers dropped and broke our ceramic wall planter made by Kurt Vonnegut’s daughter. He begged me not to tell his boss because he needed the job. And I didn’t. So am I an accessory to the crime?

  8. Sorry to hear, Ronnie, how unfortunate! We were cleaned out once. Ironically, it was by our cleaning lady!

  9. Hitting the “like” button didn’t seem appropriate for this post. What a terrible experience at such an emotional time. Thanks for sharing this cautionary tale.

  10. Oh no, that is terrible! I’m really upset for you! We moved 19 times in 12 years due to hubby’s job. Sometimes we had to settle for temporary accomodation wherever we moved. It was unbelievable.
    We only ever lost one thing, a piece of a Morris chair. But so much was broken, scuffed and ruined. Horrid!

  11. Oh, Ronnie, I’m feeling quite mad right now…what horrid people! Sorry you had to go through this awful, awful experience. Still seething I am… 😦

  12. I hate hearing stories like yours, but unfortunately it happens all too often, and it seems to be happening more and more all the time. You have my sympathy.

  13. As a former cops reporter, I always gravitate to the crime stories first. But it’s impossible to enjoy those stories when you know real-life folks were scammed, swindled, robbed … or worse. Sorry you had that experience, Ronnie.

  14. Wow; what a scam! Those criminals can be awfully clever. Maybe that’s why people root for them in novels and movies.

  15. That was terrible. I never even thought of such a possibly. Damage ,yes, theft, no. Sorry you had to go through that.

  16. mysending said:

    Oh I can’t bring myself to “like” this one–it’s definitely too painful. Our car was stolen right before we moved from New York to our home now. It had nothing to do with our move, but timing is everything. At least you should get a book out of the ordeal…

  17. That is a horrible story, How dreadful! I am so sorry. You must be spitting mad.. c

  18. Hi,
    I can’t imagine what that must of been like to realize those items were not there, and then finding out that you would never get them back. I am so sorry this happened to you, I hope one day these thieves will be caught and punished, they deserve more than what the courts will dish out that is for sure.

  19. What a horrible thing. As if moving wasn’t stressful enough. But you’ve certainly opened my eyes, and I will be extra careful when next we move. Never thought to label so thoroughly. Although it might not make a difference, it would at least allow one to recognize what was missing more quickly, and maybe there’d be a better chance of catching the thieves as a result.

  20. I really empathise with your nightmare story. 10 years ago we moved from London to France using one of the most reputable companies in England at a cost of £10,000. They moved my home office whilst I was at work and, as it later transpired, took all our bank details and useful identification. Two days later, in our house in the middle of the French countryside, my wife rang the bank to check our account and realised that £38,000 was missing from our account. Knowing that we would be disorganised in a foreign country they had gone straight to our bank and, using the stuff taken from my office, managed to scam our very naive bank tellers.

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