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Old 06-10-2013, 01:11 AM
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Default **Ladies Section** Rant: A thief, the weather, and the oven



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To begin, I am just blowing off steam, 'cause I'm mad, mad, mad.

We have an on-going thievery situation in our "neighborhood." Rather than de-rail the existing thread over in General, (although I may ask for ideas in a bit), I need to vent.

I have a hard heart when it comes to stealing and attempted stealing, especially when I'm the intended victim. It seems to have started in early spring -- a lawnmower here, a weedeater there. Then a few weeks ago an empty home undergoing major renovations (was on the market, but didn't sell, so the owners are seriously upgrading) was broken into and some power tools taken.

The plan is to have an organizational meeting for setting up a Neighborhood Watch after Mom gets back from a writer's symposium later this month. WELL, in the meantime, to give a person or two "peace of mind" yours truly is staying up nights.

Last night, I just happened to be on the back porch at the right moment, looking in the right direction. Two-thirty in the AM, dark as pitch, I'm just sitting there taking a break from the computer, and over the hill pops a flashlight -- precisely where my son spotted "the trail." Apparently he's (I presume it's a he) not as stupid as I thought -- the flashlight paused, tilted down, then turned and went back the way it came.

He probably saw the light coming through the open back door or the den windows. I wasn't scared, just mad. Mad that I can't think of a way to figure out who this bozo is and drop a dime on him. This is a mixed land-use neighborhood with elderly couples and families with children from pre-school to college age. Only a handful of rentals, the rest are homeowners.

The camera I have set up is not IR, it's grainy and despite being pointed at exactly the right spot, there is nothing on the tape except a black blob and a white dot.

I'm so sick of rain, I could scream, but at least he's allergic to liquid moonlight. It's ruining my garden.

Then there's the oven. (Yeah, I know. When it rains, it pours, right?) Not just the little 18 month old toaster oven, the big oven, too. Stove top works fine, but the thermostat is almost shot. Was making myself a quick meal of chicken tenders and frozen steak fries (frozen convenience food is "treat" here), when the temp raced up from 350 degrees F to 500 degrees F. (When I kept burning stuff in the oven, I got one of those thermometers that hangs off the rack to check the accuracy. HA!) Now even tinkering with the dial doesn't work.

<sigh> Grouse Time over. Thanks for reading.

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Old 06-10-2013, 01:30 AM
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I'm sorry you're dealing with all this. We've had break-ins in my neighborhood over the years and it's so frustrating. That's part of the reason I got the big dogs. It may be worth the investment to get a really good IR trail camera. Maybe some of the other neighbors would pitch in on it so that you all can figure out who this is? Keep your gun loaded and if he breaks in to your home, shoot that mother f*****.
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Old 06-10-2013, 05:24 AM
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I'm sorry you're dealing with all this. We've had break-ins in my neighborhood over the years and it's so frustrating. That's part of the reason I got the big dogs. It may be worth the investment to get a really good IR trail camera. Maybe some of the other neighbors would pitch in on it so that you all can figure out who this is? Keep your gun loaded and if he breaks in to your home, shoot that mother f*****.
Thanks for the sympathy.

Dad's chihuahua is still kickin' and she would occasionally growl late at night when I was up late but I didn't hear anything. (Why she prefers being on the couch with me instead of on the bed with Mom is a mystery.) *Then* I learned about the thefts and her random growls began to make sense.

Mom has said when "Brindle" (not her real name) dies, no more dogs. But this situation may have changed that position. She made a comment the other day, but it was non-committal.

RE: the trail camera -- the place where I need to set it up is not on my property. And it would need to be wireless with a transmission distance of 100 feet minimum. Not sure that's civilian level. Honestly, I've just started the research on them. (I loved ComancheSniper's video of "undocumented workers" walking a trail in the southwest. Oh, to have a version of that one with the ability to see in the dark!)

He has already cut the screen on the back door leading to our back porch. When my cousin was over visiting some months ago, he confirmed it was cut not just ripped. (He's a CSI, but lives in another state.) The thief-to-be discovered the slide lock is difficult. (The door is wooden and warped. It's even hard to open from the inside.) Guess he thought he'd make too much noise if he worked really hard at it. If he's learned lock picking, guess he discovered the outside door to our attached storage is warped shut, too. And I'm not doing any rasping or planing to make the doors swing smoothly until he's caught.

The big doors to the living spaces are rock solid. (Oh. I forgot "big door" to hill folk means the heavy inside door that locks as opposed to the glass or "weather" door. Most call it a "screen door" even if it doesn't have a screen. Well, I suppose the glass screens the rain/snow/sleet off the big door.) Okay. I'm rambling now.

But, yes, Tennessee is a Castle doctrine state and if this yo-yo is dumb enough to break in on two mature women in the middle of the night, at the very least he deserves a can of whoop ass opened on him.
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Old 06-10-2013, 06:10 AM
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Maybe I'm not understanding - couldn't you just get a game camera that will take photos/video and then check the SD card for photos of the guy? You won't get immediate feedback to your computer, but you will have a picture of the guy. My hubby picked up a decent game camera with IR night vision for about $100 at Wal-Mart (he uses it for ghost hunting, don't ask, LOL.) The pictures on it are really good and it's motion activated. They also make them where they're hard to steal - if you hid it a bit, I bet you could get a photo of the guy. Just a thought. Or if you wanna stream video to a computer, go in the chatroom here and talk to Highlander. He's really good at that sort of thing and could find you a good deal. Whatever method you use, I hope you catch this guy soon.
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Old 06-10-2013, 06:10 AM
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Don't wait to get organized. We have a loose neighborhood watch in our neighborhood wherein if anyone is suspicious, we act. We let others know when we will be out of town, etc. Prepare some memo and drop in everyone's mailboxes. Get it going now.

The trail cam is a good idea. Do you have motion sensor outside lights? There also is a device that you set out away from your house and when something/someone moves past it, it sets off a sound in your house.
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Old 06-10-2013, 06:47 AM
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Favorite game around here is stealing game cams. Talk about making you mad, mad, mad...

MtnCat, I wanted to mention there is a thread Hawg68 started in the DIY section about an hour after your original post here. I think it may be in response to your post. He mentions that the thermocouple on your oven could be your problem. A few years ago my oven started varying the temp. wildly. After chewing out the entire family for "changing" the oven temperature, and throwing one roast out the back door in a fit after it burned to a crisp, we looked into the thermocouple. It is pretty cheap to replace and relatively easy. Like everything in the world, we found a Youtube video on it while working out the problem.

It's something to look at, perhaps it will help you. It's definitely cheaper than replacing the whole stove.
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Old 06-10-2013, 12:09 PM
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I love youtube. The leaky dishwasher only had a problem with the gasket, I watched the youtube and fixed it myself!
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Autumn-Raine View Post
Maybe I'm not understanding - couldn't you just get a game camera that will take photos/video and then check the SD card for photos of the guy? You won't get immediate feedback to your computer, but you will have a picture of the guy. My hubby picked up a decent game camera with IR night vision for about $100 at Wal-Mart (he uses it for ghost hunting, don't ask, LOL.) The pictures on it are really good and it's motion activated. They also make them where they're hard to steal - if you hid it a bit, I bet you could get a photo of the guy. Just a thought. Or if you wanna stream video to a computer, go in the chatroom here and talk to Highlander. He's really good at that sort of thing and could find you a good deal. Whatever method you use, I hope you catch this guy soon.
You're not misunderstanding. I wasn't clear. And I'm more familiar with broadcast journalism cameras that zoom and you take it back to the station to edit the video -- oh, so long, long ago...(1980ish). I became a luddite after the birth of my son and have never caught up on the video tech wave. MP3 files are still a mystery of the Universe to me.

Anyway. The area he's using to access the rear of our block is roughly 150 feet at a 30 degree angle from my back porch. The land rises five feet from the back screen door, levels out across the next 145 feet and has nothing but grass growing. At the 150 foot point is the rear corner of three properties: an unimproved lot (he uses the small trees and bushes growing there for cover), the side edge of a residential lot where an old grape arbor stands and about 10 feet of back yard.

Fingers crossed, when I talk to the neighbors who own the properties at the nexus of his "trail," they will agree to a trail camera and to prosecute for trespass if we nab this guy's image.

Thanks for the suggestions and support.
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:08 PM
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Don't wait to get organized. We have a loose neighborhood watch in our neighborhood wherein if anyone is suspicious, we act. We let others know when we will be out of town, etc. Prepare some memo and drop in everyone's mailboxes. Get it going now.

The trail cam is a good idea. Do you have motion sensor outside lights? There also is a device that you set out away from your house and when something/someone moves past it, it sets off a sound in your house.
I'm chomping at the bit to get started. Mom wants me to wait until after her symposium. Don't quite understand why. Me being a single, divorced woman living under her roof and all. Something about the potential for misinterpreting my motives. Maybe she'll walk with me. IDK.

Yes, both we and the neighbors on either side of us have motion detector lights. One side's is bright enough to land a chopper by. Ours you could read fine print by. The other side...well, you won't fall down in the dark, at least. And still this guy is skirting the trip zones. Grrrrr.

My gut is telling me it's someone at least familiar with who's who or he's been watching a long time.

I was pondering yesterday putting in some kind of yard decoration, at least temporarily, to disguise a trail camera(s). Beyond the reach of the motion lights is the clear cut spot where the old garden was located. My idea was to have "something" to house a series of cams set at 9 o'clock, 12 o'clock and 3 o'clock. If he moves past 6 o'clock, he'll trip our motion lights. What do you-all think?
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:11 PM
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Favorite game around here is stealing game cams. Talk about making you mad, mad, mad...

MtnCat, I wanted to mention there is a thread Hawg68 started in the DIY section about an hour after your original post here. I think it may be in response to your post. He mentions that the thermocouple on your oven could be your problem. A few years ago my oven started varying the temp. wildly. After chewing out the entire family for "changing" the oven temperature, and throwing one roast out the back door in a fit after it burned to a crisp, we looked into the thermocouple. It is pretty cheap to replace and relatively easy. Like everything in the world, we found a Youtube video on it while working out the problem.

It's something to look at, perhaps it will help you. It's definitely cheaper than replacing the whole stove.
I can only imagine.

Yes, I saw Hawg68's post and thanked him. I'll go back and respond. (Everything has to go "up the chain of command" here. LOL)

Plan A: replace the thermocouple. If not,
Plan B: replace the entire stove. If Plan B, at least the 'fridge and stove will match.
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:28 PM
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I hate thieves ...
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Old 06-11-2013, 04:24 PM
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My gut is telling me it's someone at least familiar with who's who or he's been watching a long time.
If so, that is frightening as to what could happen.

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I was pondering yesterday putting in some kind of yard decoration, at least temporarily, to disguise a trail camera(s). Beyond the reach of the motion lights is the clear cut spot where the old garden was located. My idea was to have "something" to house a series of cams set at 9 o'clock, 12 o'clock and 3 o'clock. If he moves past 6 o'clock, he'll trip our motion lights. What do you-all think?
Sounds good, but don't make it too obvious that you are trying to hide a trail cam. It has to look like it belongs and will be permanent.
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:55 PM
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If so, that is frightening as to what could happen.
Yes, he's seriously underestimating the Church Lady (Mom). She just renewed her carry permit today.

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Sounds good, but don't make it too obvious that you are trying to hide a trail cam. It has to look like it belongs and will be permanent.
I was thinking wishing well. Several -- three, maybe -- people in a 2 mile radius have them in their yards. Front, though, not back. Must ponder this some more.
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Old 06-12-2013, 05:49 AM
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Grrrr...this guy is getting on my last nerve. About two hours ago there was "coughing" in the back yard. [Both screens closed and locked, big back door open, window behind me open but the curtain was drawn.]

I didn't do anything crazy. Just flipped off the light in the den, walked to the kitchen and turned on the big lights by hand (as opposed to via motion detection). Heard scuttle, scuttle, scuttle.

Is this what is meant in war movies (not that I'm in a war), "probing" or "testing defenses"?

Still not scared, but mad as hell.
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:02 AM
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I have been trying to think of the right thing to say here but can't because all of my ideas will get you in trouble.


I guess all I can do is offer my hugs and hope he gets caught soon. I am so sorry this is happening.
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:09 AM
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MtnCat - do you know anyone with NV?

********

When I was a kid, we had a peeping tom. Dad worked third shift and wasn't home. Mom turned on the outside lights, let out the GSD and called the po-po. The cop said she should have let out the dog, then turn on the lights. Maybe that little ankle biter of yours can earn its keep.
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Old 06-13-2013, 01:11 AM
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MtnCat - do you know anyone with NV?

********

When I was a kid, we had a peeping tom. Dad worked third shift and wasn't home. Mom turned on the outside lights, let out the GSD and called the po-po. The cop said she should have let out the dog, then turn on the lights. Maybe that little ankle biter of yours can earn its keep.
I do know someone with NV...and as of today, I am to "back off. We'll figure something out when I get back."

And, yes, if anything happens over the next few nights,...
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Old 06-13-2013, 09:17 PM
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Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit!

It's amazing how a 4:30am trip to the bathroom can modify The Church Lady's position on a matter. Seems on her way back to her bedroom she noticed the motion lights on her side of the house were tripped. , but not really.

Drove her to meet her friends and they've left for the symposium. Ergo, I had to walk Brindle when I got back. "Something" happened during the walk, but I can't write about it. I'm about to bust.



What's in your make-up case?
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Old 06-14-2013, 02:24 AM
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Oh you can't tease us like that. Please tell me you will be able to tell us what happened at some point.
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Old 06-14-2013, 02:55 AM
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Oh, yes. And a big credit goes to the ankle biter. She confirmed what my gut has been telling me for months.

I kept puzzling over why one neighbor's dog didn't bark his head off the past couple of weeks. If I'm doing yard work even close to the back of the property, bark, bark, bark. But incident after incident, deafening silence from that dog. Now I know why. (Not the owner of the dog, either.)
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