I cued up the memory card I had just slipped into my computer after removing it from the motion activated camera I had set up in the walk in closet of our bedroom. It took dead aim at a money jar we have there on a shelf. Believe me when I tell you, my heart rate was a bit above normal.
My wife was at the front door, chatting it up with the carpet installers, delaying their departure, just as we had planned. I needed time to check these videos. There were about 20, one minute videos. Each time one of the workers who were installing carpet in my bedroom, walked by my closet, the camera kicked on and recorded for 59 seconds.
As I clicked on each icon on my memory card, all I saw was a video of the inside of my closet. Another icon, another click, another video of my closet. My wife couldn't stall them any longer and I heard her say goodbye to them. I continued to click on icons, I continued to get just videos of the shelf in my closet, the shelf that held the clear jar with our mad money inside.
I heard the 3 guys walk down the sidewalk. As they climbed into their old green Ford truck, I was busy clicking video icons. More videos of the inside of my closet. As soon as they pulled out of the driveway, my next click opened a video. The still picture was of one of the workers, inside my closet. My heart rate was at full throttle as I hit the "play button." What I captured was a young kid, inside my closet with his hand in the preverbal cookie jar. I clicked on another icon, and yes, again about 5 minutes after he first visited the shelf that is located just a matter of feet from my tighty-whiteys, he again was fondling my dollar bills. Words that sounded just like BROTHER-TRUCKER escaped my mouth before I even realized it. I yelled to my wife to get the carpet store on the phone, I needed to talk to someone. I continued clicking. I got these guys!
Let me back up and start at the beginning. Here's what happened.
About a week or so ago, we had carpet installers visit our house to lay down new carpet in our bedroom. As you may expect, directly adjacent to our bedroom is our walk-in closet. In the walk-in closet we have a jar, similar to a mason jar but bigger. This clear jar serves as the collection point for any change we have in our pocket at the end of the day. When it gets full, we take it to the bank, dump it into one of those change counting machines and put that total into a separate account we have just for "mad money." When we go on vacation, we take that mad-money with us.
About a year ago my wife came up with the idea that any 5 dollar bills we have in our wallet at the end of the day will also join the nickels and dimes we have in our jar. You know, just to keep them company. As you can imagine, after a period of time, there is a good bit of scratch sitting in that clear jar.
Enter bad bad carpet installer dude.
They arrived for what we thought was a one day job. As they covered our bare floor with cushy brand new carpet they realized they didn't have enough carpet with them to complete the job, so they would have to come back in a few days to finish the job. When they left my wife and I talked about what nice guys we thought they were and eagerly awaited their return.
About a day later my wife asked me if I had dipped into our mad money jar, because she noticed that a good portion of the wad that was there was missing. We talked back and forth about where it could have gone and came up with only one answer. Those really nice carpet installers must have helped themselves to our loot. We both found it hard to believe, but where could it have gone?
So, I channeled MacGyver and grabbed my motion activated camera that I use to video deer in our back yard. I then commandeered a cardboard box and cut a hole in the end just big enough for the camera sensor and lens ( the music from Mission Impossible was playing in my head ) and placed it on the top shelf of my closet.
I put a few extra bucks in our jar and waited for the return of the installers. When they came, we gave them a wide berth, not checking in with them as often as we did before. When they were leaving, I ran in and grabbed the memory card as my wife was chatting them up at the front door. That's when we saw the dude do the dirty deed. I couldn't believe it.
It's a weird feeling seeing someone in your house, in a room they shouldn't be in, just touching what isn't theirs. Today on the phone my wife said it's not the $150 or so they took, but the feeling of being violated. I agreed. It's creepy.
I was on the phone with the owner of the business not a half hour after "The James Gang" left. An hour later the owner was sitting at my dining room table, looking at 3 different 1 minute videos that very clearly showed one of his employees in a room he shouldn't be in, doing what no employee should ever be doing. He had mixed reactions, anger, embarrassment, anger and embarrassment.
He was to meet with the thieves today and confront them with the video, when they came in to collect their paychecks.
Their last paycheck.