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Burglarized in Old Town

Baltimore, Maryland
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26 posts
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Burglarized in Old Town

Let me start by saying this was our 4th trip to Key West in less than a year. We love the atmosphere, the people, the intimacy of the town, the restaurants ... just everything. Sadly we had an unfortunate experience that came close to ruining our trip. I am sharing this with everyone hoping to help others not make the same mistake that we made. We were tourists, and did everything wrong!

We stayed in a beautiful home located on Southard Street in Old Town. (I won't give the exact address as I don't feel that would be fair to the home owners ~ we would stay there again) The second night there we were burglarized while sleeping. 2 of the bedrooms were on the first floor. My husband was in the one bedroom, my 13 year old son and his friend were in the second first floor bedroom, I had fallen asleep on the couch. My purse was on the counter (this was mistake number 1), maybe 8 feet from me. In my purse was all of our cash, which was a good amount (that was mistake number 2 having it all in one place). The person came into the house, took the cash out of the wallets and my sunglasses, all while we were sleeping. The next morning we woke up at 4 am for a fishing trip and noticed the money was gone. I can't adequately describe in words the feelings that ran through us. We had 4 kids with us, they were so scared the rest of the trip. How dare this person do this to innocent children! The best news in this whole thing, no one was hurt. I am thinking it was a good thing that no one woke up.

I feel obligated to share this story not to put fear into those visiting beautiful Key West, rather to make those who read this aware. Don't make yourselves victims.

The response from the Police department was so prompt! You could tell they genuinely cared about what had happened and wanted to do all they could to help us. The police then called in a detective. He sat us down, talked with us, asked us questions and did all he could to make us comfortable. He stayed with us until the Crime Scene Investigator came. The way our situation was handled was so professional, yet was so personal. Though our experience was traumatic and very frightening, Key West has a group of Law Enforcement people second to none. You all should be very grateful and thankful to them. I know we are.

According to the police this seems to happen in spurts. We went online and found that 3 burglaries had occurred in the general area Easter Weekend.

I'll share a few things that we were told, hopefully passing this along will help prevent this happening to someone else. Never put all of your money in one place. Probably isn't a bad idea to slip your wallets under your mattress while your sleeping. Don't bring/wear expensive jewelry. Be certain to lock all your doors and windows. The Detective told us to purchase the travel door alarms. When placed on the doors and alarm will go off when opened. Don't carry money in your wallet. Leave nothing valuable in clear view. Don't be a tourist!

All of this being said, we will visit again. I highly recommend Key West. The local people are so friendly and kind. We look forward to our next trip ... If you are planning a trip there by all means go and enjoy ... just be aware ... this can happen anywhere!

I hope the person is caught and we will gladly come testify against him/her.

Key West
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146 posts
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1. Re: Burglarized in Old Town

I am sorry that you had to go through this. It is revolting and you feel like you have been violated.

I appreciate you sharing your tips about safety as well. We all need to remind ourselves that they are always thieves in any town, just need to prep for them.

Thanks for the story, but I am sorry it crushed your vacation.

Athens, Tennessee
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2. Re: Burglarized in Old Town

I am so sorry this happened to you. It is scary! The police gave good advice that I will remember when I travel anywhere. I hope the thief is caught.

Cedar Rapids, IA
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3. Re: Burglarized in Old Town

Sorry to hear that. We generally feel safe when in Key West but you never know.

Just have to ask though, are you sure the money wasn't stolen when you were on the street that day? A pickpocket could have gotten close to you on the street or in a place of business and taken the money.

It seems odd that someone would come into a house and take the time to go through a purse for cash, instead of just taking the purse and getting out of the house quickly.......and your sunglasses merely left someplace you visited that day?

Edited: 12 April 2010, 12:05
UK
Destination Expert
for Florida
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4. Re: Burglarized in Old Town

I beleive the OP said All wallets, not just the one in the purse. I really don't think an entire family got their pockets picked simultaneously.

Thanks for the report djae, and for your safety tips.

Cedar Rapids, IA
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158 posts
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5. Re: Burglarized in Old Town

I read the post again, not seeing where ALL the wallets were robbed. The posting stated:

In my purse was ALL of our cash, which was a good amount (that was mistake number 2 having it all in ONE place).

Baltimore, Maryland
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6. Re: Burglarized in Old Town

I wish that were the case. I had put everything in my purse that night, including my husband's wallet because of the early morning fishing trip. I wanted to be able to just grab everything and go. It was a lot of money and in 3 different wallets in my purse. My sunglasses were there as well. I never walked to the side of the house where the sunglasses were found, it's believed he/she went out through the gate. I too felt it impossible that someone would be so bold ... If you look up the Key West Newspaper, you will see where the same thing happened other people over the weekend ... after our incident we heard other stories, even a few from the police. This wasn't the first time. If the intruder wakes someone he will supposedly act startled and claim he must have stumbled into the wrong guesthouse. He is most likely dressed like you or I would be. No hoodies and dark clothes ... very touristy looking, according to the police. Again, htis can happen anywhere ... I'm not here attempting to give Key West a bad rap ... just be aware is all.

Edited: 12 April 2010, 12:18
UK
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for Florida
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7. Re: Burglarized in Old Town

"The person came into the house, took the cash out of the wallets and my sunglasses"

I read this as plural, not singular.

Thanks for the clarification djae

Cedar Rapids, IA
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8. Re: Burglarized in Old Town

Yes Djae, thanks for clarifying that the wallets were all in your purse.

Just the skeptic in me, questions why a stranger would take the time to rifle through your purse instead of grabbing it and leaving. I assume all the guests and visitors were eliminated as suspects, as the police have evidence of other similar robberies in town.

Hope they catch the person doing this stuff. Sounds like he is pretty confident if he can take this much time while in the house, that is scary.

Edited: 12 April 2010, 12:36
Baltimore, Maryland
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9. Re: Burglarized in Old Town

aegwell, I appreciate your questions and skepticism, I would rather you verbalize them than assume. I didn't want to bore people with the detail but I will to help alleviate your skepticism. You asked if all who were staying with us were cleared as suspects ... 4 of the people were kids (2 of which were mine) my husband and my older son. The fear that this whole situation put into the children was telling in and of itself. Their vacation was ruined, they weren't even comfortable walking on our street in the daylight after this. My older son has no need for our money. If it was my husband then I suppose I have a bigger problem! To answer your question, yes everyone staying with us were cleared as suspects. Furthermore, since you are so skeptical, again I invite and encourage you to look at the Key West Citizen paper (…floridakeys.com/keysnews/enews/citizenpdf/C…). You will read a story much like ours, only our cash amount was quite a bit more.

Apparently the same thing happened on Louisa Street a few weeks back, netting the burglar close to $4000. I am not going into more detail as I don't think it's fair to the town of Key West. It is not something that happens all the time AND more importantly it is something that can easily be prevented with a little awareness and common sense. Neither of which I practiced before this. It never crossed my mind to put my purse out of view, etc ... while we were in the house!

I apologize for not being clear in my description of singular, plural, etc,, by no means am I a Hemingway ... simply a person on vacation with her family who, along with her children and husband were violated. I am here to share our story (though poorly written) so there are fewer victims. If you have any other concerns, by all means ask away. I'd be happy to give you a play by play ... I refrained from that as to not embed readers with the boredom of every detail.

I welcome any other questions or concerns.

Baltimore, Maryland
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10. Re: Burglarized in Old Town

To everyone who replied to my post, thank you so much for your kind words. Where the experience did put a bit of fear in us, especially leaving the house unattended, we still made the most of it. We had a great time regardless. They stole our money, we certainly weren't going to allow them to steal our spirit and fun as well.

I hope everyone enjoys their Monday!