Ok, maybe not 'restitution' in the true definition sense of the word, but I've always wanted to be able to say that. However, this is the first experience in my life that ever comes close to that, so I'm going to use it while I can.

We were called into the Bainbridge Island Police Station this morning to look over all the goods that were recovered from the string of break-ins. It was my first (and hopefully last) stepping into a police station, and (despite the reputation of the Island police) was a very positive experience. The head of 'evidence gathering' escorted us down into the basement where we entered a room full of bags marked "evidence" and "forensics".

We were told not to touch anything and she warned us there was still fingerprinting powder on everything. I felt like I was on a CSI investigation! The police had taken our report of what was missing and had linked many of our things directly to us, and we had a whole box full of stuff including my backpack, several of our credit cards, two of Reuben's jackets, etc. There was stuff wrapped in plastic bags scattered on the tables as well, and we walked around and ID'd what was ours. Right when I walked into the room I spotted my favorite cloth grocery bag! My dad got it from a drug company and it's my favorite to bring to Safeway because it's so big and I can fit a ridiculous amount of produce in it. This bag, as was the case the night it was stolen, was stuffed not only with ALL our other cloth bags (in the meantime, we had survived grocery-runs using 2 tiny cloth bags and picked up plastic bags from the recycle bin at Safeway!) in addition to just about everything that had originally been in my REI backpack. Then I knew that this thief wasn't just out for goods, he just wanted mischief. He took the time to unscrew my bottles of lotion, soap (that he had taken from the kitchen counter), and the lid from my favorite lip-gloss and made sure that they were smeared over everything. I wish we had realized it at the time; we probably could have smelled him the morning after from anywhere on the Island! I had a sweet note from Reuben that I was keeping in my backpack, and the guy had taken the time to open one of Reuben's mini-wine bottles, drink half of it, and then smush the note inside. They were also thoughtful enough to rip mine and Reuben's driver's licenses in half, and tear out all the pages of my school notebook.

We took our stolen goods back home and laid it all out on the floor. What came next felt like Christmas! Packages were opened, and Reuben squealed with delight as he found his glasses and his Garmin GPS watch. And I found my Nike+Ipod sport kit remote (minus the Ipod, but I'll take what I can get!) And the car keys! Other random things were a lovely note from my mother and our fortunes from our cookies that we had gotten the day before the break-in at the Penang Food Court in Seattle.

Since there was a combination of either salt-water, red wine, soap, and lotion on everything, we did a lot of scrubbing and loads of the washing machine. But thank GOODNESS that inside that great green bag were all my library books, dry and unstained! Hooray, now I don't owe hundreds of dollars to the UW library! One of the books from our local Island library is a little questionable in its condition, but out of the ones taken it is the cheapest and most readily available (good old Booker T. Washington!)

I am pleased to announce that my REI backpack, also known as Alejandro (named well before Lady Gaga took it), made it through the incident. It was soaked in salt-water, but luckily Miss-Evidence-Collector had dried it out nicely - she commented that she had the same pack and it was an excellent one. Alejandro went through a cold-cycle rinse and is just fine. I can't wait to take him back to school. I know they're supposedly cool and all, but I can't stand Reuben's over-the-shoulder Timbuktu!


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© Reuben + ErinMaira Gall