Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Day My Purse Was Stolen

Ok, I think I'm ready to write about That Very Bad Day.

It's been a week already!  I 've gone through all the stages of grief - denial, anger, chocolate, depression, ice cream, and acceptance.

So here's what happened...partly so I can remember the incident, partly so I can stop retelling the story all the time, and partly so I can protect any other innocent moms out there with big mutha bags from getting them stolen.  Full disclosure, I'm gonna reference the thieves as plural men because this is how they look in my head:

even though we all know that thieves can look like this:

Alrighty then!  

On Tuesday, April 17th, Phil and I packed up the kids and headed to Washington D.C.  We were staying at his parent's house for the week, and DC is only an hour drive so we decided to check out the National Museum of Natural History and view the Lincoln Memorial and the White House after.  We found a parking spot for the Beast on the street (yay!) and I headed over to pay for parking, after throwing a blanket over my purse, she types foreshadowingly.

Phil got the kids out of the Beast, along with the stroller, diaper bag, and camera. They all came walking toward me when I asked someone to grab my water bottle.  JP ran back to get it for me.  Then Phil took the parking ticket back to place on the dashboard of the Beast, and we were finally ready to walk over to the museum.

It was a chilly but nice day and I was so thankful to be walking behind my family doing vacation-y things together.  I truly love spending time together!  Especially when we're out of the house!

I made them all stop for a photo op before we went inside.  This was gonna be so cool!  I never once felt unsafe or really thought about the fact that we were in a major city where crime takes place daily.  The presence of security guards and metal detectors inside the museum made me a little more aware, but nothing could have prepared me for what was about to happen mere steps away.

We toured the museum for about an hour and 45 minutes, leaving enough time to walk back to the Beast before our parking ticket expired.  JP had been hoping he left his phone in the van because he realized he didn't have it in the museum and knew for sure he had it in the car (verified by his younger brother who saw him on it).  When we got in the van, JP didn't see his phone and we started giving him grief about losing another expensive item (he had lost his retainer multiple times) and he was feeling pretty bad.  Oh well, we said, you'll just have to use your savings for another phone...settled.  We all got in and went on our merry way to do a drive by viewing of the White House....

Alexander was in the back seat, hoping to sneak a peek at President Trump:

Trump didn't respond.  Hey, you can't win if you don't try.

We began the drive back to Phil's parents house and I pulled out my phone to start checking emails.  I opened an email of a receipt to an electronic store in DC where I had apparently just purchased a $2200 Mac book.

Say whaaaaaa???

I saw that "I" had used my Visa card to make the purchase, and said something aloud to Phil along the lines of "WHAT IS HAPPENING I DID NOT BUY A NEW LAPTOP WHY AM I GETTING THIS RECEIPT WHO HACKED MY CREDIT CARD NUMBER WAIT WHERE IS MY PURSE?????"

{Turns out a blanket is not a fail proof safe hiding spot.}

I yelled out that my purse had been stolen and immediately had to stop myself from hyperventilating.  The kids got really scared and Phil pulled over while I panic-yelled at him to call the cops.  He looked up DC police phone number and dialed, but was told to hang up and call 911.  He called 911, explained what happened and where we were parked and they sent out someone to take our report.  I started calling up the credit card companies to cancel the cards and found out that the thieves had spent $11,000 on three different credit cards already.  Already!  

We waited and waited and waited for the popo to come and Phil called 911 two more times to check in on where they were.  (We've never called 911 more in our lives!)  He even walked down the street to talk to the cops working security detail for the White House who said they couldn't take our report and to just wait for the cops who were most likely "busy" or "in traffic".  We did get to see the POTUS helicopter land, so that was a pretty cool distraction.

Finally an hour and a half later (!), two cops show up and we tell them what happenned, and they tell us they can't help us because they are Park Police working in the White House area, and we need the metropolitan police since the crime happened near the museum (which was like 2 blocks away).  

Oh no you didn't.

You did NOT just tell a frantic mom that you can't help her after she has been waiting in a parked van with SEVEN kids as it approached rush hour and the traffic is getting thicker and the kids are getting hungrier and in need of a bathroom.  

I nearly lost it on them, and asked if there was any way to file a report online or over the phone because we could not wait another hour and a half for the correct cops to show up.  They said I could.  Phew.  Off we drove.  I called 911 to file a non-emergency police report and a little while later, a cop called me back.  I started telling him my story and he stopped me to say that he couldn't help me because when it comes to fraud/identity theft cases, you have to file a report in person in the precinct where it happened.

Is this real life??

I told him how disappointed I was with the way we had been given the runaround, and while he apologized, also said there was nothing he could do.  

Honestly, at this point, I just wanted to be back home.  We were already driving during rush hour through Maryland and I wasn't turning around.  We didn't see any signs of a break-in on the van, and so we thought in our multiple trips back to the van before going to the museum, we had left it unlocked.  Specifically, we thought Phil had left it unlocked. While he was feeling pretty bad about that, and I was feeling stupid about leaving my purse in a car in the city, we didn't see a point in filing a police report just stating how stupid we both acted.  We had cancelled the credit cards, ordered me a new license and SS card (never leave that in your wallet, which people have loved to tell me after the fact!), filed a fraud alert, and really lost nothing of value besides $3 cash, a bunch of gift cards, and all the random things in a mom purse:

I'll miss you three lip glosses, medicine, cough drops, tissues, 2 pairs of sunglasses and multiple pairs of earrings.

 It wasn't until later that night that we saw the thieves had broken into the back door on the van.  The jerks!  Phil was vindicated that he had indeed locked the door.  JP was vindicated that his phone was indeed stolen.  Yay?!?

Let's review.  When you visit a city as a tourist, remember this Basic Thief Math:

Out of State Van + Family in Museum for Hours = Prime Victims

My kids will forever be scarred by this memory of DC and it's the story they tell when asked how their Spring Break was.  That's sad because it puts a real damper on the good times we had (see previous two posts) but it does make for an exciting tale, and in the end it could have been a LOT WORSE!  Thank you God for the safety of my family...they are way better than things anyway.


  1. Oh Colleen, I'm sorry. What a horrible experience. And what a long, drawn out process to get basically no where with the "popo" My heart was racing reading about it.
    I'm glad everyone is okay.

  2. So sorry that happened to you (though a little glad that JP was vindicated); will pray that clearing up the credit card charges goes smoother than filing the police report. Hugs to everyone!!

  3. Ugh!!! I just hate this so much for you guys!

  4. The worst! But at least you got that email so you found out quickly! So sorry this happened.

  5. Oh my gosh! My City did this to you!?! I’ve never had my van broken into and we go into the city all the time! What bad luck!!! And thank you for the reminder to be extra careful!! So sorry that happened to you!

  6. Oh gosh, I'm so sorry this happened to you!!! I couldn't believe it as I was reading. It makes me so angry at those thieves on your behalf. Many years ago I was at the grocery store with my purse in the seat area of the grocery cart. I covered it with my jacket, left the cart there and walked to the other end of the aisle to look at something. I didn't notice until I got to the checkout that my purse was gone. I told management and he said it was the third purse stolen that day in that store. I only had a little bit of cash in it but of course there were the credit cards and keys. Also, photos of my little daughter, husband and various family members that were lost forever. So awful, it makes you feel violated! But I'm y'all are all okay. Could have been worse! I learned that day to always, always, always keep my purse close to me. I never walk away from it anymore.

  7. oh no!!!! such an irritation and iconvenience... not to mention a violation. ugh
    Two weeks ago, my bank card number was stolen after a night out with girlfriends. It wasn't until Monday morning (6:30 AM) that charges started pending on my acount. Ironically, this divorced mom of 3 kids found herself signed up for an onling dating service...*insert eyeroll*


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