Wednesday, March 04, 2009


This case design housed the iMac G5s and the e...Image via Wikipedia

Okay... so here it goes. A few weeks back one of my business partners moved back to Salt Lake from Washington. In the process he forgot to bring back his key to the office. So the other partner lent him his key. So that evening he called me to tell me that he was locked out of the office. So I decided to just drive over and let him in. While there I decided that this had gone on long enough and I was going to drive to Wal-mart and get a copy right then. As I was leaving I went to lock the door, but my partner had already mentioned that he might end up having to leave, and that if so he would just leave the door open, plus some other people were coming for a meeting that night and they didn't have keys. So I didn't...

On my way out of the building I passed a tall skinny guy with a closely shaved head of blond hair and a backpack. Something felt wrong about the guy, but what can you do? Tackle everyone that doesn't seem cool? Of course I should have followed him, particularly when he went up the stairs towards our office. But the front door is open till 8:00 because we have a youth counseling center downstairs... Anyway I didn't stop him, or follow him and our best guess is that he was the thief. He (or some other person) walked into the office through the open door, walked over to a desk with a laptop, grabbed the laptop, the laptop case, a checkbook and walked back out. People were in our office at the time, just around the corner.

So I guess that was Wednesday, the next Tuesday when I came into work first thing that morning, things seemed weird. When I got back to my office, some files from my filing cabinet were on the floor and my monitor was gone (I have a laptop and I just plug it into an external monitor when I'm in the office). So then I walked back into the main area of the office and that's when I realized a brand new iMac we'd just bought was gone and another, older, imac was gone. That said a lot of stuff was still there, some of it was cable-tied, but it was apparent that they had gotten spooked. In the final accounting the things mentioned were gone, plus a credit card, a camcorder, an old mac desktop, and the checkbook of the guy who'd lost his check book the last time around...

We had an outside door that led directly into our office. For awhile it had not shut properly, you had to lift up on the door when closing it for it to latch (we're pretty sure we told the landlord about it he claimed we didn't, in any case we didn't tell him strongly enough). In general we told people not to use it, but we didn't really stop them from using it. One guy in particular used it just about every day to go to lunch. So when it was obvious that's how they had gotten in, it seemed equally obvious that this guy had not closed it tightly. (For the curious he was one of the people who's computer had gotten stolen.)

So we sat down and had a big meeting with the landlord and he agreed to implement bunch of new security features, fixing the door being pretty high on the list, but just as important putting a lock on the door between the outside door and the main work area. We also wanted him to have a horn right next to that outside door that went off the second it was opened, and a couple of other minor things as well. To his credit, with the exception of the horn, everything went in pretty fast, and I was personally feeling pretty good about security.

We were leaving for LA on Sunday and I really had to scramble to be ready. In the course of the scramble I missed getting my long-awaited watch. I finally decided on a model (MTG-1500-9AJF) assembled the necessary funds and ordered it from Japan. USPS claimed that they tried to deliver it on Saturday and left a notice (which is a lie) and by the time I discovered this it was too late to just go to the post office and get it. I was pretty disappointed that I was going to have to wait until I got back to get it.

On Monday I considered trying to arrange for a redelivery by calling the post office and calling my guys back at the office, but I didn't get around to it. On Tuesday I checked and the site said that it had been successfully delivered the day before. So I called on of my guys and he said, oh yeah that came yesterday. And a thrill of joy coursed through me, and even though I was eyeball deep in a bunch of work for the client I was in LA for, everything seemed like it was going to be okay. Well he wasn't in the office at the time I talked to him, but I told him to give me a call when he was just because I had some things I needed him to do.

Well when he got into the office he couldn't find the box with the watch. I figured it had just been misplaced, but after several minutes I started wondering how hard it could be to find a box in the midst of our fairly tiny office. That's when he told me that he was sure that it wasn't misplaced, that it was gone. And of course I couldn't understand how it could just be gone, and then he mentioned that the cops had been called. Initially I honestly thought he was joking, but no. There had been yet a third break in (and I'm not even counting the incident between break-ins one and two where someone shut off our power from the outside). And basically the new security measures had worked, except that when the watch had arrived rather than going to the guy who had the key and putting it in my office the same guy who might have left the door open on break-in two had just left it outside my door, in the hallway that the outside door opened on.

This time it was obvious that they had a crowbar and with that info it's unclear if the door had been left open the 2nd time or if they had just jimmied it in the same way they did the third time. It was also apparent that they had tried to bust open the door between the hallway and the main area. So basically things worked, but unfortunately there was a really nice watch there for their effort. Plus as I found out later our payroll packet was also placed in the hall next to the box. So that included my paycheck and the payroll report, which had everyone's social security number.

Anyway... so that's basically it. Most of our employees are feeling pretty freaked out and for the near term we've decided to just work from home. We'll see what happens from there. I sort of feel like if I had blogged about the first two robberies that the third one wouldn't have happened. That by leaving the subject open from the blog, it was left unfinished in reality. But I probably am ascribing too much power to myself...

Sign of the times?


Blogger Fred said...

Wow, sounds like you guys need to move...or at least get smarter employees that don't leave things outside of a locked office for all to take.

4:51 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

I am so sorry. That sucks that your watch was stolen. Hopefully things will turn around now. Good luck with everything.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Valerie said...

That really stinks about your watch. I hope insurance is able to replace it.

8:30 AM  
Blogger aozora said...

Scary! Is the everyone in that vacinity experiencing the same thing or are you getting targetted especially?

2:29 PM  
Blogger Ross said...

It does kind of seem like we're being specifically targeted... I've heard of some other incidents, but nothing on the scale of what's happened to us.

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Ed said...

Major stink-fest. My guess is that it's some drug addict who found an easy, unsecured source of quick cash and decided to keep striking while he could.

12:06 AM  
Blogger aozora said...

Sounds like the neighborhood has been cased nd youwere the fresh meat.

Maybe a large canine might be an answer.

6:37 AM  
Blogger hallamigo said...

That really sucks. You could place some webcams that pipe feeds onto an off-location server - there is a Linux (mac?) app called Motion.

I've toyed with it - pretty slick.

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, that really sucks. It kind of makes me appreciate working in a secure facility, I don't have to worry about my stuff getting stolen. I don't even bother locking my car.


6:23 PM  
Blogger Keiko said...

They seem to also have robbed you of the will to blog ... ;-P

9:01 AM  

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