DEAR ABBY: My wife locked her purse in the trunk of her car at the shopping mall before she went inside to walk around with a friend. When she was ready to leave, she opened the trunk to get her purse. It was gone! Both the car and the trunk had been locked, but a thief had opened her locked car and used the release lever to open the trunk.
She never locked the trunk release lever because it was so handy to use. (It was handy for the thief, too.)
Not only were her purse and its contents missing, so was the garage door opener she always left clipped to the visor. However, my wife didn't need it when she arrived home -- because the thief had left the garage door open for her. Our house had also been pilfered!
Many people leave the garage door opener clipped to the visor; it's so convenient. Since my wife had her keys with her, the thief did not get them, but he gained access to the house through the garage. (The thief got our address from the license registration in the glove compartment.) He parked in our garage, closed the door, and loaded the stolen items.
Several lessons can be learned from this incident: Always carry your garage door opener WITH you, as if it were the key to your front door, and install a deadbolt lock between the garage and living area. DO NOT leave the trunk lever unlocked, and if you are going to put your purse in the trunk, do it before you arrive at the shopping mall.
The scariest thing about the incident is that the thief or thieves could still have been in the house when my wife returned.
Please don't use my name. This is a sensitive issue because I had told my wife many times to carry the garage door opener with her, and I should have had the deadbolt installed sooner. -- POORER AND WISER NOW IN WASHINGTON STATE
DEAR POORER AND WISER: Your wife learned a very expensive lesson -- but it could have been far worse. Thank you for reminding my readers that the interior of their cars is vulnerable if a thief is serious about breaking in, and that a garage door opener in the wrong hands is as good as an "open sesame" for Ali Baba and the 40 thieves. (And that's no exaggeration!)