After a an interesting evening dinner party at my house with folks from the New Mexico Wildlife Federation who are working with my husband to try to keep a diversion project from being built on the Gila River in Southwestern New Mexico, I collapsed into bed a full hour earlier than normal.
|Photo by Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal|
At 3:00 a.m. I was awakened by noises outside our bedroom french doors. From the bed, I could see Tar, our large black dog, whining with his nose pressed against the French doors from the living room to the deck and wagging his tail. Thinking perhaps we had left the cat outside, or the neighbors' dogs had dug under the fence and were coming for a visit, I opened the drapes to see a young man looking into the living room. Paralyzed, I stood for a minute, trying to decide what I should do...slowly dropping the drapes back into place. I then heard footsteps going around the house and woke my husband. He got up, turned on all the outside lights, and told me that neighbors had emailed (after I had gone to bed) with a warning of a young man approaching several houses, acting and talking strangely. Checking to make sure we had locked all the windows and doors, we got back into bed. After a minute or so of tossing and turning, we decided we should call the sheriff's office. While we were talking with the sheriff, we saw a vehicle at the top of our driveway turning around and driving off. The sheriff's department came and checked the neighborhood and did not find him.
In the morning we awoke to find our Sportsmobile with its trailer and our raft gone from the driveway. My husband was distraught! He loves the Sportsmobile because it hauls his rafts to rivers all around the country. Last summer he spent two months in it in Idaho enjoying a retirement celebration.
In the van's place was a somewhat decrepit green Outback with a cat's litter box on the ground next to it. Called the sheriff again! Spent the morning with a Sandoval county deputy trying to find all the necessary documentation for the value of everything that was stolen. (Note to self...more organization of files critically needed). By late morning, a Sandoval Sargent and Detective had arrived to continue the investigation and began to go through the abandoned Suburu only to find methamphetamine's and syringes inside. I was then sent to the neighbors' house because of the remote danger of explosion.
Walking up the dirt road, I heard something that sounded like our Sportmobile. Quickly ducking out of sight as the van and trailer passed by, I tried to call 911 on my cellphone to warn the sheriff personnel....no service without being close to our repeater! Not to worry, however, they had heard it as well and were coming out to apprehend the suspect. I scampered into the neighbor's house in case shooting might ensue, which it did not. Only lots of shouting. "Get out of the vehicle! Hands over your head! Get down on the ground! Hands behind your back!"
|Sandoval county deputy picking up suspect's belongings.|
Two days later we have learned that the young man who took and returned the van has mental health issues, and some drug dependencies. Even the sheriff's department is concerned enough about him that they are making sure his belongings (left in our van) are returned to his father and that we, and our neighbors, will look for his cat which was lost in the fray. Sati, our cat, and the pinion jays are enjoying the food and water I have left out in case the lost cat has survived the coyotes and owls for the last two days.
My friends are joking that "Breaking Bad" is rather more real than fantasy at our house, but in reality we are all praying for this young man as he struggles to regain more positive possibilities for his life.
Kudos to the Sandoval Sheriff's office for the professional, polite, and kind way in which they handled this incident. We are glad they are on the job!
Oh, and we are discussing sending Tar for barking lessons.