IT’S not just an invasion of privacy, it’s like being violated when someone, in the middle of the night, enters your home and tries to steal your car.
And that’s exactly what happened in the early hours of Tuesday morning when a man crept into my family home in Echuca while my father slept on the couch just metres from where my keys were.
The man — who propped our unlocked door open with a dog statue for what I can only imagine was preparation for a quick escape — managed to take my keys and the remote for the garage, opened the garage door and got into my car.
Fortunately for our family, my uncle — who is mentally disabled — was there to save the day.
He shut the garage twice before the man was successful in his attempt and quizzed the man on what he was doing.
The man said he was allowed to take my Chrysler Crossfire. No, I can tell you, he wasn’t.
Fortunately my uncle didn’t buy it and went to wake my mum and dad, who at about 1.30am couldn’t quite work out what was going on.
Eventually my dad, by now not a happy camper, found the man in my car with the window down.
Dad asked him what he was doing and he said ‘‘old mate’’, who he had been drinking with earlier in the day, told him he could.
When dad asked him who old mate was he said it was the man on the couch — yes, my dad — which now made dad the angriest of campers.
Suffice to say old mate told him he was calling the police and eventually the man, who encouraged him to make the call, fled on foot.
Meanwhile, mum — who had been out the front, echoing dad’s calls that the police would be called — had woken me.
Unbeknownst to us at that time the man had already ransacked dad’s car and stolen his mobile phone from inside the house.
We called police after that, who — might I say — can only be commended in what was remarkable service at that hour.
They arrived promptly and were hunting the man before we could properly explain what had happened.
They wiped their shoes before stepping inside, smiled, were patient and embodied every quality you would want police to have in a time like this.
Before the official interview was over a man had already been arrested and my father was taken to the station for his statement.
Now all has been said and done it sounds more like a hilarious story than anything nightmarish.
But it was terrifying.
That sick feeling can only be really understood in a situation like this.
And the questions come.
Our house always has lights on so why out of all the dark homes on our street did the man choose ours?
Had he been watching it or was it just sheer coincidence?
And how, now everything is over, do you close your eyes and not wonder who’s lurking outside?
There are lessons to be learnt, of course.
Lock your doors at all times — to homes and cars.
Our front door is unlocked so my uncle, who lives with us, can go in and out of our home while we’re sleeping.
Never in a million years did we think it was being left unlocked for the opportunistic thief.
Fortunately there is a silver lining in all of this.
We have a great bunch of police officers who really do come running when something goes bump in the night.
Thank you to those officers who responded to our distressed call.
Your efforts did not go unnoticed and you really did put the ‘hero’ in Echuca police.
As for the rest of you, make sure when you go home tonight, right before you tuck yourself in, that you lock all the doors in your home.
Don’t let this story fall on deaf ears.
Or it might happen to you at the very moment you think it never will.