I remember the day well. I had just got home after many hours of not listening in my lectures. All I wanted to do was relax by watching an episode of Seinfeld. Sadly, that was not to be. The previous night my PS4 had been stolen, and in my morning rush out the door, I hadn’t realised. And I do understand that technically it’s a burglary and not a robbery but “being robbed” sounds catchier, so that’s why it says that in the title. Maybe it’s clickbaiting but so what? I can’t imagine my burglar is going to come out of hiding to sue me for defamation, so I reckon I’ll be fine.
It’s closing in on two months now since that happened. I’m still PS4-less. The guy is still out there in the wild, evading arrest. But I’m not actually that bothered. It’s not something that has been weighing on my mind. Despite what it says on the picture above, my heart is still intact (that’s only partially true, but that’s a longer story for another time). So yeah, my shit being taken hasn’t really affected me. But it should have, right? Why don’t I care more?
I have a few theories.
1. I’m too emotionally inept to care.
It’s fair to say that I’ve been called emotionally distant. I’m beginning to realise that that might be bad. I generally don’t feel strongly towards that many things. Even then, you’d think this would probably be an exception; but it’s not. The reason I find it hard to complain too much about this situation is because a lot worse could have happened. A man was in my house in the middle of the night and nobody got hurt. In my book, that’s a result. Literally the next morning, I opened my front door and saw police tape cordoning off the road ahead. A young couple had been stabbed, no more than a minute walk away from where I live.
I should be worried that such a thing would happen in such close proximity to me. But I’ve heard and seen incidents like that with enough regularity that I’m largely desensitised to it. Medway currently has top-billing in Kent in both the stabbing and burglary categories. Talk about an impressive double-whammy. I’m very aware that it’s not the safest place to be, and it’s something that I’ve taken on board and then moved on from. Because you have to. I know that if I’m walking back late at night on my own, I might just cop a knife to the gut. If you’re not prepared for that, then Gillingham probably isn’t the place for you. It might be bleak, but I think it’s just realism with a dash of my own-brand apathy towards life thrown in for good measure.
All of that is to say, if I don’t care about potentially bleeding out in a place that might be the closest thing to hell that I’m ever going to experience, then is a stolen PS4 that big of a deal?
2. My anger has been redirected towards the police.
Let’s get this out of the way from the outset. Medway police are not good. Not in my eyes, at least.
When I noticed the PS4 was missing, I rang them straight away. I was on hold for about an hour. When I finally got through, I gave a quick statement which the operator responded to with “We’ll try to get there as soon as we can”. To me, that meant that I should stay at home until they arrived, because they could come over at any point. Turns out, what the police actually meant was “We don’t give a shit, we’re not coming to your place”.
It’s hard to feel angry towards a burglar that I knew no specifics about, but the police, by wasting my time, had given me a tangible target to be pissed at. But I normally try to give people the benefit of the doubt. As described before, Medway is like a real-world version of Gotham City, so of course the police were going to be incredibly busy. However, my empathy for their job disappeared when I went down to the station to give a statement and I realised how much of a mess they are.
It felt like I had stumbled into a workplace sitcom about the incompetency of the Medway police force. First, they told me that the person who was supposed to question me was an hour behind on her interviews. After spending 15 minutes looking for another member of staff to take over, I overheard them talking about potentially postponing my appointment, even though I was sitting in front of them. Eventually, a policeman came out and said he was there to interview me, to the great surprise of the others. But he was just as useless as the rest. He chose to conduct my interview in a break room. There were interview rooms free, but they were locked and obviously it would have been too much effort to grab some keys. That might sound like I’m being a bit harsh on him, but he really didn’t want to do any extra work. I asked him if the police were going to come and look at the CCTV footage from my building. His response? “Well, the thing is, we would have to confiscate the system and spend time looking at it, which would be quite a hassle, so it’s probably better that you do it and tell us if you see anything.”
I tried to spin the narrative into me being like Batman: working to fight for justice when the police couldn’t do enough. But in reality, they were too lazy to do their job properly and I was their lackey. I still did it though. I spent hours at a security system, trawling through footage until I found the burglar. And his face was clear as day. So clear in fact, that the police immediately recognised who it was upon being sent the footage. The detective on the case told me he’d be arrested within 24 hours.
3. I have a strange level of admiration for my burglar.
Ok, I’m not saying all thieves should be respected but I think mine deserves a bit. Hear me out. Being a thief is no easy job, and because it’s quite high risk, I imagine that they normally plan to be in and out of a place as quick as possible. This is what makes my burglar special. After breaking in, he decided that all his sneaking around had really worked up an appetite. Bear in mind, my flat is the furthest point in my building from any kind of exit. There is no quick escape here. But to my guy, toast and noodles was too tempting. He stayed for over 20 minutes, before strolling out the flat at a leisurely pace: a black sack with my PS4 in one hand, a slightly-burnt piece of toast in the other. Off he disappeared out the front door, into the night, never to be apprehended by police (as of yet).
I can’t tell whether he’s just an idiot who got lucky or the world’s most relaxed person. Either way, it’s such a baller move that all I can do is hold my hands up and say fair play to him. Whenever I tell people that he whipped himself up something to eat during the burglary, they always laugh. I don’t blame them; the whole thing is ridiculous. He came for the expensive goods and stayed for some food. It sounds more like a Saturday Night Live sketch than it does real life.
That’s why I can’t take it seriously. Or maybe I just like to see people beating the system. Sure, it doesn’t feel great that it was at my expense, but his display that night showed he deserved his good fortune. In my eyes, he should be given a medal for exhibiting bravery in the face of peril. But since that's unlikely, I suppose my PS4 will have to do.
P.S. I did have a dream where I killed the burglar by making him overdose on coke, so maybe I do care a bit.