January 2011 - Billfold stolen
"The devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8).
He dressed well, in his Sunday best suit, so as to blend with the crowd, shopping at Krogers Grocery Store. Tall. Clean shaven. Heart of stone. Soul black as night. A detestable, loathsome, malicious THIEF! These things a stranger's appearance would not reveal. It was 5:30 p.m., Thursday evening, November 18, 2010. He carefully sought out his victims…
someone elderly; helpless; alone...preferably female with her purse in the grocery shopping cart. He selects a couple of small items as if shopping light; no need of a basket. He would happily exchange those two packages for a purse full of money and credit cards.
Bingo! His lucky day! There she was in a handicap scooter cart. He followed her down the crowded aisles. If only she would get out of the cart to reach for an item, he could easily, quickly, make his move. She stopped in the cereal aisle across from the huge display of General Mills boxes. Carefully, she was searching for the two cereals listed on a coupon. She got out of her cart, walked across the aisle to choose Raisin Nut Bran. She searched, walked back and forth, Where was the Basic 4? Just two or three minutes was all it took to locate the coupon items.
The thief grabbed the purse, only to find it securely fastened to the wires of the basket.
Luckily, there was a zipper across the top. With lightning speed, his professional talent, he unzipped the purse, grabbed the billfold slipping it inside his coat under his arm -- just as the little old lady turned around to place the cereals in her basket. He quickly stepped backward, saying, "I forgot my stuff!" He reached beside the coffee display to retrieve the two packages he had been carrying around, and walked away. "Why did he speak to her?" She wondered. Strange!
The lady finished her shopping and drove the cart to the check-out area. ALL lines at each register were long, blocking the aisle. She stopped at the first one and reached for her purse to remove her Discover Card. Her purse was open! Unzipped! Her billfold was missing!
I was that little old lady!!!!!
My thoughts: "WHY? When did I last see my billfold? When I removed my driver's license at the bank. Just before going to Krogers, I cashed a check for $500. at the drive-through window and had to show the teller my drivers' license. I probably left it on the car seat, or I would have closed my purse with it inside. "Please, PLEASE, Lord, let my billfold be on the seat of my car." Frantically, I tried to maneuver the cart down the aisle. Impossible! Too many people in lines. I just left it in the aisle and walked as hurriedly as I could to my car, praying all the way. Nothing on the seat! How do I describe my feelings? Someone unzipped my purse and stole my wallet!
Fervently, I prayed: "Lord, I know I'm not supposed to 'go all to pieces' with my heart condition. Just help me! I feel so weak…borderline, sudden nausea! Help me walk back inside the store. Dear Lord, help me to be calm. Oh, NO! Did he steal my bank envelope also? NO! There it is at the back of my purse. Thank You, Dear God. Thank You. Tomorrow, I can finish my Christmas shopping. I haven't bought gifts for baby Jacob, my precious great-grandson. Monday, I'll spend about $300. on groceries for the family Thanksgiving Dinner next week. Thank You, Thank you God for not letting me put the $500. in my billfold!"
I re-entered Kroger's and reported my loss to an armed guard near the entrance. He said the store manager was not there, but I should report this to the store-front police across the street.
My groceries were still in my basket where I had left them. Fortunately, I had plenty of money to pay for them!!!! Thank you, God! A sign on the door of the police store-front listed the hours 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. It was 7:00 p.m. and closed!
I drove home and immediately called Discover Card. They said the thief had tried three hits on my card--all turned down! Smart businessmen. A man with a woman's Discover card!
Since I do not think like a thief, I had no idea this could happen. I thought they had to steal the whole purse! It isn't exactly a purse -- it's called a satchel, 9" across; 7" down, with a handle of two straps that lock securely in the middle. It's a perfect fit on my walker, which I've had about five years. I would stand the purse up and strap it across the front of the basket. Now, I'll lay it on the bottom, zipper strapped firmly against the front; groceries quickly placed on top.
I'm afraid to shop alone. Wanda has been with me ever since this incident. Soon, she'll be going back to Florida. She may as well stay until February 5th since she has planned this tremendously fantastic 90th birthday party for me! Ya all come! Ya hear?
Three days after my billfold was stolen, a lady (age 78) was parked just a few feet away from the entrance of Walmart. A man approached her with a knife, and said, "All I want is your money and car keys." He drove away in her car. Yesterday (I'm writing this on Dec. 16!), an elderly lady was walking to her car in Meyerland Plaza parking lot, when a man knocked her down, breaking her hip, as he jerked her purse from her hands and jumped into an awaiting car.
The night of the robbery, I couldn't go to sleep. I had real bad thoughts about this man who knew my name and where I lived. I began to have a talk with God, praying for peace. God took over my thoughts, telling me to list my blessings. It's not about what I lost, but what I have left. With pen in hand, I wrote:
- I have money for our family Thanksgiving diner and final Christmas shopping.
- The robbery took place inside the store--not out in the parking lot where my life would have been endangered, perhaps even taken, and my body injured or more traumatized.
- It happened in the evening, on Thursday, when big stores would soon be closed.
- There was only one credit card (Discover) in my wallet and the Exxon/Mobil gas card.
- I could make all those phone calls on Friday (the next day) to report my losses of every thing in my billfold (drivers license, voters registration, library card, proof of car insurance, medical insurance, Medicare with my Social Security Number, Medical cards about my cataract surgery and heart, etc.). Personnel in EVERY institution I called were kind and sympathetic.
- No bank information for the thief: no bank credit card, business card. No blank checks!
- No KEYS! There are extra keys to my car and home on the bottom of my purse. If the thief had my house keys, imagine my pain waiting 'till morning to get locks changed!
- Wanda removed all my draperies to be dry cleaned by 4:00 Wednesday, the day before my billfold was stolen. They didn't tell her the total price -- just a price for each panel. We figured it would be about $250. I planned to give her $300. Because this was a small cleaning establishment that quoted a price very much below all the others Wanda had researched, I decided to give them cash in payment instead of my Discover Card. When I counted out $300., I had only about $30 left -- not enough for the week-end. I gave her $250., in an envelope. She returned it to me because the drapes weren't ready. I was working at my desk, and left it there instead of putting it in my billfold. Thank you, Dear Lord, for letting me leave the money on my desk until Monday to pay for the drapes. Can't you see how God was protecting me?
God does not force a man to be honest. It's his choice. It's almost impossible for a thief to regain respect, trust, love, characteristics we hold most dear. Everyone despises swindler Bernard Madoff, now in prison for the rest of his life. I wonder how he feels about one of his sons committing suicide last week because of the shame he could not overcome from his father's thieving greed. Madoff's two sons had no idea their father's Ponzi scheme wrecked many lives.
In I Corinthians 6:9 -11, Paul lists a lot of sins, saying, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither….nor thieves….shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."
God doesn't say evil and suffering are good, but He does assure us that He is big enough to use them for our good as in Romans 8:28, "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." Never in the history of our nation has there been so much evil and greed. This is the first time in my life I've been robbed. God has kept me safe in my home. I forget the statistics, but I think Houston is listed as the 10th most crime ridden city in the Nation…a nation founded on principles of God. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Most of all, be aware God is watching over you. He loves us!
> January 2011 - Billfold stolen