Friday, October 24, 2014

After burglary, an Elkhart family is thankful they have each other

An Elkhart family takes stock of what they have after a burglary earlier this year.
Posted on Nov. 24, 2012 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Nov. 24, 2012 at 7:13 a.m.

ELKHART — Life has changed a lot for Marisa Haitsma and her grandmother, Rachael Garrett, since their home was burglarized in July.

Haitsma, 21, walks around locking doors at home. One time, she even locked her mother out of the house. She carries pepper spray and is more cautious about giving out private information, even preferring to write down her phone number instead of saying it out loud.

Garrett texts her granddaughter more. They look out for each other.

Their dog, Daisy, is different too. Daisy was in the house when it was broken into. She flinched for a month after the burglary whenever someone reached out to her and she is wary of strangers.

Whoever broke into their home stole nearly everything of value, including jewelry given to Garrett by her late husband. The entire house, including the bathrooms, had been ransacked.

“It was an invasion of privacy,” Haitsma said. “The worst part was knowing they were in our house. People just walk into other people's houses and think they can take stuff. It's sickening.”

Garrett agreed. She has lived in the house for more than 40 years. This had never happened before.

“Our routine was disturbed,” Garrett said.

Though insurance helped replace many of the stolen items, only time is able to give Haitsma and Garrett back the safety and security they once felt.

Four months later, they are still cautious and occasionally nervous.

But they're also grateful for the kind and patient police officers who helped them go through their home to find what had been stolen. They're grateful for their neighbors, who looked out for them before and look out for them even more now. After hearing about the burglary, one neighbor immediately came over with a laptop so that the two women could change passwords and protect their online information. Their insurance company and bank were helpful, too.

And most of all, they're grateful for each other.

“At least we're safe. Daisy is safe. The house wasn't destroyed,” Haitsma said. “It makes you realize what you have.”

On Thursday, they celebrated Thanksgiving in “The House,” as their family calls it, with a few family members. They enjoyed dinner together, played games and celebrated what matters most to them.

“We're still alive,” Haitsma said. “We're especially thankful we're all here.”

Recommended for You

 FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2012, file photo, women walk by a statue of Joseph and Emma Smith outside the church office building during the 182nd Semiannual General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City. Mormon church founder Joseph Smith had an underage bride and was married to other men’s wives during the early days of the faith when polygamy was practiced, a new church essay reveals. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says most of Smith’s wives were between 20 and 40 years old but that one was just 14. While part of the church's early days, polygamy has been banned in the faith since 1890.  (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Scott Sommerdorf, File)

Posted 16 minutes ago
 In this Oct. 22, 2014 photo Roman numerals mark a timber from the 54-foot oak French frigate La Belle at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas. Archaeologists are beginning to reassemble the remains of the ship recovered more than 300 years after the vessel was lost in a storm off the coast of Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Posted 16 minutes ago
Back to top ^