Burglar-proofing your home with Bert and Ernie

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

By Brad Hollerbach

I was discussing the bout of break-ins occurring throughout the city with my friends Bert and Ernie. That's not their real names, in case you were wondering.

Bert is convinced his neighbors are behind the crime spree.

"Look," he said pointing to the map I created for a previous blog that plotted all the reported break-ins since Jan. 1.

"There aren't any break-ins in the middle of the city, and look who is in the dead center where not one robbery has occurred. My neighbors."

Bert is suspicious that the people next door to him are stealing jewelry from homes around town and refining it into gold bars.

"Why else would they have some of their windows open all the time even when it is 10 degrees outside!"

Ernie chimed in. "Bert, they're not refining gold. They're making meth."

"Well, of course they're making meth! They're doing that in the back room and smelting the gold into ingots in the basement." Bert countered. "Who knows what other nefarious criminal enterprises are happening in that house. Counterfeiting. Identity theft. Telemarketing. It wouldn't surprise me if they were hosting one of them al-Qaida sleeper cells in their garage."

Ernie's advice to us both was to get an alarm system. He was getting one to put his wife at ease. He also shared that the owner of the business he was getting his alarm from had also been robbed -- even with an armed security system. The thieves got in and out of his house with several thousand dollars worth of jewelry in about four minutes.

News like that makes you wonder about the value of a security system.

"How much does a camera system cost?" Bert asked me. "If one of these SOBs breaks into my house, I want to get a picture of them that I can hand over to the cops."

That's a pretty worthwhile strategy. Then Bert just needs to lure the thieves to his house so they can be photographed. That might be pretty easy if they are indeed living next door.

I guess Bert can take a cue from some of those deer hunting shows they're always airing on the Outdoor Channel. Maybe he can hang some jewelry and dollar bills from the trees in his front yard and spray his bushes with cologne that would attract felons -- buck scent or burga-lure, perhaps -- to let these thieves know his house was ripe for robbery.

And then, of course, hope they don't steal his camera system while they are pilfering his stuff.

Personally, I'm covering all my bases. Besides installing alarm and camera systems, I'm planning on renting a backhoe this weekend and putting in my own moat that I'm going to stock with a school of piranha. One or two of those fish just wouldn't do. You have to have at least a couple of hundred to have an effect.

And then I'm going to replace my 6-foot-tall wooden privacy fence with a 10-foot tall brick wall with a few strategically placed guard towers complete with gun turrets. On top of my wall, I'm going to add a nice layer of broken glass with a few strands of barbed wire.

Yes, I know my wall -- but not the moat -- will violate Cape Girardeau zoning codes, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I figure if the city can't protect my property, then why should I pay attention to their rules pertaining to my property?

Besides, I feel like I'm doing my part to stimulate the economy.

Backhoe rental is not cheap and the bricks-and-mortar-laying and barbed-wire-stretching businesses don't work for free.

And have you checked into how much an entire school of piranha costs? It's expensive. Not to mention the cost of their upkeep. Just one bag of Purina Piranha Chow is outrageous.

But when it is all done I will be able to sleep more soundly at night knowing that even if a burglar made it over my brick wall and didn't cut himself to shreds on the glass and barbed wire and then somehow got across my piranha-filled moat without being chewed to pieces and actually did manage to break into my house without setting off my security systems, that there will be nothing left for him to steal.

I would have already pawned it all to pay for my piece of mind.


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