I work from home, so I am home all day. Every morning, I get up and open the blinds looking out on the front yard, then I sit down and check e-mail. Our house is set so far off the road, that I can see the backyards of the two neighbors on each side of the house from my front window.

Today was a little different than usual. I got up and opened the windows and started doing breakfast and all the rest. A few minutes later, I walked outside to throw some things in the recycling and saw that our back fence was open and our Beagle had gotten out.

I go back inside and get dressed and get Quinn dressed and get ready to get in the car to go find him.

When I walk outside, I see a group of kids walking down the street next to my neighbor’s house, and I ask them if they’ve seen a small, brown dog. They tell me that he is up the street, and I say thank you.

Some back story: There is nothing but woods for about a half-mile behind my house. On the other side of the woods are some apartments. On the other side of my neighborhood is a high school. A big group of kids often walks from the high school to the apartments by cutting through my neighbor’s yard and through the woods. The neighbor has given them permission to do this, but I haven’t. In fact, I’ve asked them repeatedly not to cut through my yard, but they keep doing it anyway.

Most of the time, these kids also hang out at a house two doors down from me. When I saw them today, I thought they were walking up to that house. Well, I got in the car, drove a few houses and found my dog. I got him in the car and drove around the loop that is my neighborhood (it’s just one street that forms a big circle — small neighborhood). I pass a group of girls walking toward the high school and think they are just going to school really late.

I come back around the loop to my house and see the original three kids coming back toward my neighbor’s house. I think it’s weird that they just walked up and walked back so quickly.

I get the dog back in the yard, and Quinn wants to go on the swing. I expect to see the kids come up the neighbor’s driveway and appear behind me as they are cutting through the woods. They don’t. I think “That’s weird. I wonder where the hell they went.”

A few minutes later, I hear some noises, and I turn to see them running through the woods in the opposite direction with a huge flat-screen TV in their hands.

I grab Quinn and walk over to my neighbor’s to look for any signs of a break in. I don’t see any broken glass or kicked-in doors. I text my husband that I saw the kids with the TV.

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I go inside. A few minutes later, I see more kids hanging out in front of the neighbor’s house. They see me watching them, and they move on a bit. They walk around the block in a direction they don’t usually go.

I see them again a few more times.

A few minutes later, I see the dogs have gotten out of the fence again. I go outside and get them back in, but AGAIN, my damn Beagle is nowhere in sight, so I get in the car to go look for him. I circle the block a few times and look for the dog and for any signs of break in anywhere. I don’t see any, so I think, “OK, maybe they were borrowing the TV from the friend who lives in the house they always visit. (NAIVE, I know.) Or (more likely) they stole it from another neighborhood and were just running through and I was too late to be of any help by calling the cops since I didn’t know where they came from or where they were going.”

WRONG.

My neighbor came home tonight, and a short while later, the cops showed up. I run over there and find out that the kids had kicked in his back window and had stolen — sure enough — his flat-screen TV, six or seven guns, some cash, a laptop, his first wedding ring and some other things.

My big contribution to the police was that I saw them running through the woods with a flat-screen TV and that “one of them was wearing a bright blue jacket” and that “I texted my husband about it!”

So fucking helpful.

The neighbors across the street at least took a picture of the kids SITTING ON HIS FRONT STOOP while the others were inside robbing him.

How the fuck am I home all day AND have a clear picture of his backyard AND SEE these kids around his house at several points during the day AND see them running away with his TV and NOT have any more information than that?

My husband was like “Well, you did everything you could.”

Me: “No, I could have called the police when I saw them. I could have taken pictures of the kids when they were hanging out in front of his house. I could have actually seen the broken window when I walked around his house SPECIFICALLY looking for broken windows.”

Him: “Yeah, well, that, too.”

Moral of the story: Don’t be my neighbor. Kids will rob you blind under my nose, and I’ll just think it’s “weird” that they keep walking by your house.

(Also, I’m totally fucked in the zombie apocalypse. “Nah, that guy’s probably just sick. He’ll .. hey waitaminute!”)