A frightening experience

(Note: I am reposting here in its own entry Laura Wood’s story, which she originally sent as a response to a long personal story by a reader about two close calls he had with violent blacks that has now been removed, as I explained here.)

Laura Wood writes:

[The reader’s] story of the incident at his parents’ house reminded me of something that happened to me last winter—and of another important safety rule.

We needed to repair our chimney and were interested in looking for a contractor to do it when a man called and said his chimney repair company was going to be in our neighborhood and was interested in any work we might need done. I said, as a matter of fact we were looking for someone and they could come by and take a look at the chimney. I told him to have his workers call before they came and gave him my cell phone number. He sounded very eager, which didn’t alarm me. I was at the store a couple of hours later when I got a few calls on my cell phone but could not answer them. When I pulled into our driveway, a van was there and two men, one white and the other black, were standing outside.

I needed to show them a leak inside in order to explain the problem with the chimney. It never once occurred to me that I should never let someone in the house unless I know he is from a real company. The white man came in and the black man went up on the roof. Instead of just inspecting the chimney, I could hear him walking back and forth on the roof, over to that part of the house far from the chimney and above our bedrooms. I came outside to ask him to be careful where he was walking (parts of the roof are fragile) and he looked at me with a strange smile. I guess I thought he was walking back and forth just to kill time while his partner talked to me.

I went back inside, finished talking with the white man, who gave me a very long and detailed explanation of what we needed to have done and of the price. Nothing seemed strange in his manner or sales pitch. I said I would let them know later and I then let him out of the house. A few minutes later, the black man, who was about six feet tall, came walking right in the front door. He didn’t knock. He just walked right in, which in my experience is unusual for contractors. I was taken aback and walked toward the door to see what he wanted. He asked me for a plastic bag, saying that they were cleaning out their “filter” and needed a trash bag. I said, no, I didn’t have any plastic bags. He walked down the hallway toward the kitchen and said, “You don’t have anything? Are you sure? You must have something. You must have some kind of plastic bag.”

At this point, I was becoming uneasy. I rummaged very quickly through a cabinet and found a bag. I gave it to him and started walking toward the front door, as if to show him out. He very slowly walked toward the front door, so slowly that I just left him in the hallway because it was awkward to be standing there. He stopped and looked at the name of a bakery on the bag. “Interesting. That looks like a good bakery. I’ve never been to that one. Hmm.” He then just stood there looking at the bag and saying nothing, as if he was deciding what to do next. He wore a half-smile, as if he was enjoying himself immensely.

At this point, I just wanted to get out of the house. I turned and quickly walked out the back door, leaving him in the house, and stood in the driveway. I waited for a minute or so and then he came out the front door. He walked down the path toward the driveway. I went back into the house and locked the doors.

A few minutes later they drove away.

Police in the area announced the same day that men who met the same description, who were driving the same type of van and who were part of the same fake company had robbed a house. One man went into the bedroom and stole jewelry while the other talked to the homeowner.

LA to Laura Wood:

You let two strange men into your house because they said they were from a chimney repair company? You’re lucky nothing bad happened.

Laura Wood replies:

I know. I’m usually very cautious.

It was the fact that someone called that threw me off. If they had showed up at my door, I wouldn’t have let them in.

Buck writes:

Mrs. Wood, please, never let anyone in your house unless you called them, and then only if you know them or if someone you know and trust knows and trusts them. Anyone can call to see who will invite them in. I would suggest that you never open the door to a strange man unless you have protection or some kind of plan. And I would also protect my cell phone number. Give only your land line until you check them out. And when the guy came into you house uninvited, you should have exited quickly and dialed 911. Forget about being embarrassed by running out, that’s temporary. Let the police teach him some manners.

Laura Wood writes:

One other detail I had forgotten: the person who initially called me was not a man, but a woman. Then a man got on the phone to explain who they were.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 07, 2012 03:10 PM | Send

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