Wallet stolen by *%$&#@!. Part cautionary tale, part vent. Also: long.

So I was at a coffee shop this morning working on my computer and this man approached me and began saying lewd things to me, saying something about my computer having porn on it.

The way he was stringing words together made little sense. Because of his incoherence, I thought he might be schizophrenic or something.

I didn't wait around to figure it out. I cut him off pretty quickly, and very loudly told him to go away, to leave me alone. I had to repeat myself a couple times, but he did leave. Then about ten minutes later he was back. He walked right up to me, got right in my face and started talking again, in a low voice. I had my earbuds in, so thankfully I didn't really hear what he was saying that time. I ripped the earbuds out, and marched to the counter to ask for help.

When I got the employee's attention and turned to point him out, he was walking toward the front of the store, where we were. There was a crowd of people between us and him. The employee said very sternly, "I need you out of here right now!" And the man walked past the counter and went out the door.

It wasn't until a while later that I noticed my wallet and a small cosmetics bag was missing from my purse. I guess I should be glad he didn't take my car keys, my computer, etc. Or my whole purse.

I know it may seem dumb that I left my stuff sitting there. My purse was less than two feet away, sitting on a chair on the opposite side of one of those small bistro tables. But in order to grab it, I would have had to move close to him, maybe even had to push him aside. All the while with him saying really vulgar things in a low voice. The table was up against a wall, so there was only one way around him, one way out. He had more or less positioned himself between me and my purse, leaning over the table and into my face.

In retrospect, it seems as though he knew exactly what he was doing.

Anyway, now I know why he was smirking as he left. I reported my credit card stolen immediately, and a police report is being filed. But he probably still has my driver's license, so he knows where I live. And I live alone and am now feeling very vulnerable.

I'm now looking up self defense classes in my area. I found a news story about how there was a free self defense class put on by our police department… yesterday [!]. My heart sank when I read that the class was being offered because of three recent rapes in the area, one 22-year-old and two teenage girls. Not in my actual neighborhood, but just a few neighborhood away. I hadn't heard about these rapes until now.

All this, the rapes, his lewd talking, the way he harassed me and then he came back. It makes me fearful. Is he going to come back again?

I've alerted everyone in the building and told them to make sure to secure the doors. I live in a secure building, as long as people who live here pay attention and the latch doors behind them. My fellow tenants' records on this are spotty, however.

I've had offers to go stay with friends tonight, and I could always go stay with one of my sisters. But I've decided to stay here. I mean, I'll have to stay here eventually, this is where I live. I re-fortified all the security measures on my apartment. I got some pepper spray. Yes, I know it can be used against me, but I need something to defend myself. I tested it out by shooting some into the sink. I caught barely a whiff and had a coughing fit.

Any advice, comfort, suggestions, etc. are welcome. As well as similar stories, if anyone wants to share them. I feel like we could all learn a lot from each other on this.

I've been a victim of crime before, but never has it been so personal. Always it was something stolen from me when I wasn't actually present. This has really opened my eyes. After it happened, I met my mom for brunch today and after discussing it in earnest for quite a while, she eventually was carrying on talking about lighter subjects. I found I could barely follow what she was saying. I have had no appetite all day and have a killer case of dry mouth that persists now, 10 hours later. And I'm exhausted, but if I went to bed, I doubt I could sleep.

Anyone ever approaches me again like that is going to see the pepper spray aimed in their face and hear me saying, "Back off!" I'm not f***ing around anymore. I won't use it without serious provocation, but I will use it as a deterrent.

Last edited by wild~hair; 09-20-2009 at 07:38 PM.
What a terrible experience! I'm so very sorry to read about this. I had my wallet stolen and it was a nightmare but nothing compared to what you endured.

Be very, very kind to yourself and do whatever it takes to regain your equilibrium. It will take time. Allow yourself whatever you need to be angry, to feel safe, to feel sorry that it happened to you - whatever. Damn the thief - I hope he rots in hell. I have no sympathy for him.

I'm glad you posted and I hope it helps a small bit toward your recovery from this horrible experience.
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Wow, that's horrible. I don't blame you for being concerned.

I lost my driver's license after only having it for a month. I think I threw it away (accidentally), but the idea of someone finding it and having my name, photo, and address creeps me out to this day.

Maybe he will be caught. This is totally CSI-y, but maybe he left fingerprints on your bag?

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I am so so sorry that you are going through this...feeling unsafe is no way to live. I am trying to think of ideas to help you feel more empowered...

1. Can you have a sketch artist do a picture so that you can post this all over your building and / or neighborhood. Does the police do this?? This way, you might be able to scare him into not coming near your building, cafe, neighborhood...

2. Definitely take the self-defense class!

3. Ask about those other women and their rapes...was there a sketch done? If you think it might be the same person, get the police involved...

Maybe I am sounding naive here but the more you take action and get involved, the better you will feel. At least, that's how I felt after a horrific similar incident.
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Sorry you had this happen
Have you considered calling a locksmith to get better locks installed on your door? Are you opposed to guns? If not than I would highly suggest going to a shooting range and becoming familiar with firearms. So sorry this happened to you, Im creeped out just reading abou it. I can only imagine how scared you must be knowing this guy has your home address. I know boobie trapping your doors and windows seem amateur but it could help make you feel safer.
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Last edited by Stephanie198907; 09-20-2009 at 09:09 PM.
Did you report it to the police? If you haven't done it yet, I'd highly suggest doing it. This sounds like such a specific m.o. that he may have done this before (and/or may do it again).

I am so sorry this happened to you. I am glad you've been able to take some proactive steps to protect yourself, and hopefully over time the fear and anxiety will decrease for you. I can't imagine how scary this must be for you.
I'm so sorry that happened to you. What a scary experience. No advice to add, but (((hugs))).
wow Wild! How freaky! I'd be freaking out that he has access to where I live too. you are definitely taking the measures you need to, stay safe girlie! I agree, definitely tell the police and see what they can do to help you around your home. Thinking of you!
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When I lived alone I used to totally boobie trap my home for the night, just in case someone was up to no good.

I thought I was crazy for doing this, but honestly I felt better knowing if someone decided to climb through a window the obstruction I stuck under the window would fall over and alert me. I also used to sleep with a weapon at the ready (not a gun, mind you, just a random household item that would be helpful in case someone broke in and attacked me).

My apartment community was gated, but some of my neighbors were sketchy.

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Last edited by curlyarca; 09-20-2009 at 08:18 PM.
I'm sorry that happened to you. I'm rather paranoid about my purse. I always have it touching me wherever I am, but I understand you choosing not to grab it since the guy was in the way. Hopefully, your personal info just ended up in the trash after he took your money of the purse.

I definitely think some safety measures would help you feel safer...lock change, windows more secured, perhaps a weapon or two around the house. I'm not convinced that owning a dog makes anyone safer. If anything, it makes you more vulnerable because dogs need to be walked outside at night.
Wow, what a horrible way for a theft to happen. I'm so sorry. Take care of yourself.
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Last edited by cakj99; 04-26-2010 at 07:11 PM.
This was my post, written a few hours ago, before I got interrupted by a call from my sister:

I have seen people post this kind of thing before, but never have I been in position to do it myself, so here goes

Thank you. I can't even say how much it helps to read these responses and feel the support here.

When you're a single woman living alone, you have to stay so strong all the time. And I've been doing that all day. Trying to figure out how to protect myself, how to keep myself safe. In my own freaking home, where I should be able to always feel safe.

But then, curlypearl, I read your post and just started blubbering. Hell, I'm blubbering right now. I really needed to let it out, I guess.

Thanks. And thanks for the advice. I'll be talking to the police again tomorrow about this, following up on my call to them today.

======

And an update:

I got my wallet back, from a third party, around 10 this evening. Driver's license was there, basically everything but cc and cash.

I wish it were all happy happy joy joy, but the guy who returned it wanted money, was pretty much a jerk about it and, well I'm way too fried to update right now, but I will tomorrow. But I'm physically fine and only two total creeps now know where I live. Or something like that. I've lost count.

Thanks everyone.
I just read this. I'm so happy you got your personal info back. Keep yourself safe. As a recently independently living woman, I can understand where you are coming from.

I'm sorry that you had such an awful day. Such a rollercoater of emotions I'm sure.

Take care of yourself and remember we all are sensng your butt kicking powers!

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He wanted money? What, was he homeless or broke? I can't imagine kicking someone when they're down.

I'm glad you got most of it back.
Oh hun....I'm JUST noticing this! ((HUGS))

I understand the feeling of vulnerability. I'm SO sorry you this happened to you! It sucks that you had to go through all of this, but I'm glad you're okay and that you at least got the wallet back. Although I'm sure the wallet is the least of your worries right now.

Stay safe, and you know you can vent to us here.
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Wow - that sucks. How scary and creepy!

If you haven't already, definitely add a deadbolt to your door and make sure you are able to lock your windows. You might also consider keeping loud music/TV on during the day so people think you're home when you're away. And a baseball bat near your bed might be helpful.

Those self-defense classes can be wonderful. Many local karate centers offer them - or can give you a few private lessons.

Take care of yourself. Stay strong and vigilant.
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What a jerk.

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."

4a, mbl, low porosity, normal thickness, fine hair.
sorry to hear what happened to you wild-hair

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