( ⌚︎ this post has been updated)
“Go placidly amid the noise in haste.”
That’s a verse from the Desiderata, one of my favorite poems of all time. Right now there’s a lot of both going on at Cannon House, as the place is shaking with every swing of the hammer. Literally. As I type.
But that isn’t the reason for this post. This past Tuesday afternoon, Cannon House was burglarized and robbed—and my two prized, custom-built, 17″-inch MacBook Pros were stolen, along with two other laptops. Four computers in all. Those who know me well will say, “yeah, that makes sense he’d have four laptops.” I was in the midst of transferring data from one to the other, and the other two were old storage models with past projects on them. Digital artifacts that are now gone forever.
Triscuit and I were home when in the incident occurred, upstairs, in a nap-coma. We didn’t hear a thing, and Triscuit usually knows when a squirrel farts three blocks away. The perp let himself in an open door, took what he wanted, and left. Roughly $10,000 in computer equipment gone, in an instant. Probably sold for less than pennies on the dollar.
Some of my neighbors have given eyewitness accounts that a worker on the demo team looked like he was casing the joint, behaving erratically. The untouched crime scene suggested the perp may have been familiar with the house and its contents. After 11 years here, I’ve never had a single incident, save for a car break-in and a vagrant drunkard who passed out wrapped around my lawn crystal one evening seven years ago.
The crime happened this past Tuesday afternoon. We have footage of the guy casing the back of the property, and inside the house as well, rummaging around. As of this writing, the Atlanta Police haven’t assigned my case to an investigator. They’re so backlogged and bogged down with other cases (which are probably way more horrible than mine) that it’s not surprising nobody is acting on leads yet.
So, the crime happened on Tuesday. By Wednesday, reality had set in that my primary mode for creating, communicating, staying in touch, keeping balls in the air and getting projects completed was gone for good. Didn’t seem real. I started slipping down in to victimhood. I heard myself saying aloud to the guy, “get a fucking job, asshole.” I was lost, sad and a bit scared all at once.
Then I remembered something. Something important. Something that, as is turns out, is a point of grace and understanding in the face of rotten douchebaggery.
Two days after Dylan Storm Roof murdered nine people at a South Carolina bible class, he faced some of the family members in a court hearing. “I forgive you,” said Nadine Collier, the daughter of Ethel Lance, one of the shooting victims.
“We welcomed you, Wednesday night, in our Bible Study, with open arms,” said Felicia Sanders. “You have killed some of the most beautiful people I know. Every fiber in my body hurts, but we enjoyed you.”
I’m not a religious person, but I am a fan of grace. In any form, from any person, at any time. And THAT is best example of grace in the face of evil I’ve seen in a long time. Maybe ever.
If Nadine Collier can forgive, I can find a way forward, too. If Felicia Sanders can tell the murderer of her son, “I enjoyed you,” I can figure out how to resurrect my creative tools.
With that benchmark, I started wondering about the perpetrator of the crime at Cannon House. Who was influencing him? Did he have the opportunities he needed to get ahead? Could he actually get a real job if he so desired? Did avenues exist for him to learn, grow, to succeed? To feel like he matters?
I don’t know him, and he robbed me. But I’m trying to understand the guy still the same.
Truthfully, I’d consider not pressing charges if he’d come forward and confess to the crime he committed. He’s a tall, lanky, African-American male with longish braids, probably no more than 20 years old. During the day of the crime, he was dressed wearing a white shirt, light-colored shorts and sneakers. If you have any information on this person, please call Det. Andre Fowler with Atlanta PD at 404.546.4236. I’ll update this post periodically once the investigative ball gets rolling.
My wish for this guy is that he comes forward, admits wrongdoing, and starts his life over. Because that’s what I’m going to do.
“Go placidly amid the noise and haste.”
I will continue to seek justice for myself, and for any future innocent people that this guy might victimize. I don’t want this crime repeated.
Most of all, I will continue to seek justice for him. It’s the only way I know how to heal.
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UPDATE 1 (19 July 2015 | 3 p.m.)—APD assigned the case to the wrong zone investigator. I was on the phone with the guy for 20 minutes before he realized it wasn’t his case. Hoping to speak with Det. Fowler today and will update again. Also, I’m due to speak to two local news sources who are interested in this post and my story. Watch this space.
UPDATE 2 (20 July 2015 | 11:00 a.m.)—I was interviewed by two local TV stations on this robbery. I’ll post footage as soon as I can. (Link to CBS46)
UPDATE 3 (20 July 2015 | 3:11 p.m.)—Footage has emerged of the perpetrator walking across the street directly toward Cannon House. With a huge h/t to Janet Ackerman for her Myrtle Street surveillance video.
UPDATE 4 (29 July 2015 | 3:11 p.m.)—After speaking to witnesses and doing what seems like only basic investigation, I’m told that the case is “at a dead end” by Atlanta Police. Even though a number of separate neighbors have reported seeing this specific perpetrator walking around midtown since the initial robbery, behaving erratically. I still think we might find him, so long as area patrolmen know what to look for. Will update with any other info.