The date was October 9, 2013, two days before Tracie P’s birthday, when two men burglarized our home in Austin in broad daylight.
I had left earlier in the morning for my weekly commute to Houston (where we now live) and Tracie had taken our daughters to the grocery store.
One of the men broke down our front door and searched through our belonging for valuables (here’s my post from the week of the burglary). The other waited outside with their getaway car.
The police were able to identify one of the burglars because he took a selfie with our family iPhone and we saw it in our iCloud. He also took a photo of a brand new pair of tennis shoes.
Both men left Texas and went to California. The driver had been pulled over by police in Austin and fled. He was ultimately apprehended in California.
From what we were told by the Austin detective who handled our case, the man who entered our home was killed in Los Angeles in June in a gangland shooting. He was twenty-four years old.
On Friday of last week, the driver accepted a plea bargain. He will spend the next ten years in jail.
In the end, the news of the one’s passing and the other’s guilty plea made me feel terribly sad.
They had been implicated in tens of burglaries in Austin. And they were bad men.
But none of it makes any sense to me.
After all, renter’s insurance covered the few valuables they did steal (mostly electronics and audio recording equipment). And beyond cherished possessions lost — a necklace I gave Tracie the day we brought Lila Jane home from the hospital and a box that contained every ticket stub from every rock show I saw as a teenager — and a few anxious, shell-shocked nights in the weeks that followed, our lives moved forward. We continue to be middle-income Americans, struggling to build a financial future for our children but living comfortably.
Today, one of them is dead at 24 and the other is behind bars. And what was it all for? A pair of shiny new tennis shoes?
How will I explain all of this to Georgia P and Lila Jane when they’re old enough to ask questions about our life in Austin?
A lot of you shared your support and solidarity here and so I wanted to post about the resolution. Tracie and I both greatly appreciated everyone’s thoughts and wishes. We’re doing well and it’s been a good summer for us and our daughters (our first in Houston).
I’ll see you next week… thanks for being here.