On May 5, 2009, while I was at work, a young man decided he wanted to kick in my front door. Once inside, he ransacked my bedroom and took jewelry. The jewelry, including my deceased mother's ring, was sold for a pittance and quickly melted down at a local establishment.
The police came to my home, took a report and dusted for fingerprints. I filled out and signed all of the proper documents and was told I would be notified when information was available in the case. Officers were able to track the jewelry through information provided by a confidential informant but hit a brick wall when they learned the gold had already been melted down.
My feelings were a combination of anger, because my personal space had been invaded, and hurt, because one of the few tangible items I had that belonged to my mother had been taken by someone who, in my opinion, is a low-life creature who shouldn't be allowed to breathe the same air as decent, law-abiding human beings.
Knowing the backlog in the system when it comes to matching fingerprints I didn't hold out much hope that the intruder would ever be caught. Police said they had an idea of who the culprit was but couldn't be sure because there was no physical evidence. After a few months I stopped asking about progress in my case because I knew that the answer would be, "We're still working on it."
I never doubted the police but there's only so much they can do, since they are working with limited resources and with fresh cases occurring almost daily.
Then I got any early Christmas present. On Christmas Eve I was told that the fingerprints sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement had come back with a match. The prints that were submitted had been taken from my dresser and jewelry box. I was asked if I knew the suspect and if there was any reason his fingerprints should have been in my bedroom.
The officer said the young man was already in prison but the the new information would be forwarded to the state attorney for action by them. They would decide whether to bring additional charges. Ironically, I was informed that it would be my responsibility to follow up with the state attorney.
Hmmm... Let me see if I have this right. My home was robbed and the robber has been positively identified from fingerprints. The person has been located and is currently serving a jail sentence on a similar robbery. Now it becomes my responsibility to follow this case to make sure it doesn't get dumped in the nearest trash can or simply ignored until I go away.
I have posted the telephone number of the state attorney's office beside my computer. I don't know the procedure of citizens who must track their own cases. I will learn however, because I don't want this young thief to get away with what he’s done. With my tenacity, maybe he could serve another 5 or more years behind bars.
There is one thing I have and that is a lot of patience. I want this guy to serve every year he deserves for robbing my home. They can add that to what he's already serving and I don't want his sentence to run concurrent. I want him to pay me restitution and I don't care if it takes him paying me $1 per week for the next 800 weeks (that's the estimated value of the jewelry taken not to mention the splintered front door and destroyed locks). I want it.
I will follow my case to make sure that I get justice. Everybody's so worried about criminals getting justice. Well, I want my justice.
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