I wasn't home, so it was Joe who got to experience that sick, stomach-dropping feeling of getting up to get to work early and walking outside to climb into the car, only to see an open door that should have been locked tight, and some tools abandoned in the driveway.
He called the cops, called me, called the insurance company. At first, we figured we were victims of a temperamental door-latch, bad luck, and sticky-fingered non-neighbors, but...
My neighbor across the street has a camera that catches the street - and the front of my house - beautifully. Reviewing the footage, the thieves came in the back, and took their loot out via the neighbor's back yard. They didn't find this path of least visibility in ten minutes in the dark at 4AM - the garage is behind the house, and not easily visible from the street. They must have been by to case the place earlier. (No, we didn't find them casing the house when we went back to check the previous 24 hour's footage - that would have been too easy...) My new conclusion is that the door-latch not quite catching saved me a busted out window (the window was cracked, with a fan in it, for ventilation).
Joe and I are each out a bunch of tools. Fortunately for my heart, they took the replaceable ones, the ones in the handy-to-carry, easy-to-stack boxes, and left behind the well-used and well-loved tools I had gotten from dad. They were also in a hurry - when they couldn't quickly pull the latching drawers of Joe's toolbox open, they figured it was locked and left it alone.
They weren't the smartest thieves in the world. They took the box with all the router accessories, but left the router (sitting visibly on the workbench). They also wasted a hand on my water-damaged 1997 boom box (it took a bath during the kitchen remodeling project) - the one that only plays the first two songs on any CD; that you have to cycle through several options to get it to power off. They took tools they recognized; tools easily fenced.
I have a new dead-bolt on the garage door; a security system is in the offing and will be in place before we replace the stolen items. The garage is stuffy; the window securely closed and latched. (Yes, we filed a police report.)
And I take some small comfort in knowing the tools they took can only be used to build. They are no good for violence or destruction. (they left all the pry-bars behind...) The tools went from my garage to a second-hand sale somewhere not very nearby. At that sale, I can picture someone (in my picture, they have no idea the tools they're buying are stolen), thrilled to find such a reasonable price on a cordless drill. They take the drill home, and fix a broken cabinet door, a loose hinge.
One of my friends laughed when I told her my image, but I don't care. I'm into silver linings; getting up after a fall, dusting yourself off, trying again; believing good can come from bad. Otherwise I just get depressed.
From here, I will go on, grateful that I am the one stolen from in this story, not the one stealing. I can't imagine the thieves live happy and fulfilled lives. I am angry at the them for destroying my illusion of security, grateful that the cost of the shattered illusion is measured in dollars, not injuries.