02 July 2008 by Published in: General musings 22 comments

This was one of the worst days I’ve had in about as long as I can remember. As I sit here, I feel completely violated. My world has been invaded, and I’m not sure that it will ever quite be the same again.

As a sole practitioner, my entire world, everything associated with the operation of my business, is based in the computer that I use at the office. My time and billing software, my accounting software, my case management software, and, of course, my client files, are the lifeblood of how I operate.

My office is at the end of a building in an office condominium complex. The office backs up to a stand of trees that divides the office park from residential properties. It’s an extremely secluded spot, and it has, apparently, been just begging to be taken advantage of by some adventurous miserable prick. And, although I never really considered it until today, the building has no security system. In retrospect, that should have been a big concern for me, but it just never crossed my mind.

When I walked into my office today, the first thing that I noticed was that the torchiere in the corner was on, which it should not have been. I turned it off when I left yesterday. And then I noticed that the window was gone, and that there was a sixty pound rock, and lots of broken glass on the floor next to my desk. Then I looked at my credenza, and came to the horrifying realization that my computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and expensive JBL Creature 2 speakers, as well as all of the associated cables, were all gone. My printer was still there, but it was turned up on end so that the fuckers could pull the printer cable out and take it.

My whole business is gone. And with the crazy schedule that I’ve been keeping, I hadn’t had an opportunity to do a back-up in a couple of months. I lost my entire billing database and have no copies at all of the invoices I sent out yesterday, since I don’t keep hard copies, but rather save them on the computer as a PDF file. I have been having to contact clients to get them to get copies of the invoices that went out yesterday to me so that I can rebuild the database and so I know what their account balances are. I generally know what they are, but I surely don’t know the specific dollar amounts.

So far, I’m out about $200 to buy a keyboard, mouse, printer cable and a low-end set of speakers for my laptop. I still need to acquire a monitor and a new printer, since my present printer does not have a Mac driver and is not compatible with my MacBook. I will have to buy those over the weekend. That doesn’t count what I’m going to have to pay the consultant to come back in and set up my billing and practice management programs for me. It also cost me half a day of productive time today, since I had to come home to have access to a computer, and I can’t get anything done with the dogs constantly bugging me. This fiasco is definitely going to cost me more than the amount of my month’s rent, that’s for sure.

There is only one thing that could have happened that could have been worse, and that’s losing my license. This is as close to the worst case scenario as something could possibly be. And I feel completely violated, like I’ve been raped. At the moment, I’m unsure what I’m going to do, but I can tell you two things: (a) I am NOT paying rent this month, and if the building owner doesn’t like it, I will sue him for the damages resulting from the total lack of any security and (b) I will not stay in the building if a security system is not installed immediately. While I doubt that an alarm going off would have stopped this smash-and-grab, perhaps knowledge that there was a security system in the building might have deterred the motherfuckers.

Fortunately, it appears that they left at least partial fingerprints behind, so I’m hopeful that the police will find them and make an arrest. And if they do, the least I hope for them is that some big guy named Bubba with a scorching case of herpes decides to make him or them his bitch while they’re incarcerated.

UPDATE, JULY 3: This morning, I paid a visit to Office Max and purchased a new monitor and a new printer, as well as a new surge protector, because the bastards even took that.

It turns out that at least one of the morons left a lovely thumbprint on the glass, so my hope is that Columbus’ Finest will shortly be making an arrest and that they might even be able to recover my computer.

As of today, I’m out about $500, which doesn’t even begin to count the cost of the consultant that will have to come in next week. This morning, I told the landlord that unless there’s a functioning security system in this building by the end of next week, I’m moving out, and he informed me that there is a system in place, it’s just not active. Just dandy.

Scridb filter

Comments

  1. Wed 02nd Jul 2008 at 10:02 pm

    Eric,

    I’m very sorry to hear about your break in. I hope you can recover everything quickly and completely.

  2. Wed 02nd Jul 2008 at 10:10 pm

    Let’s hope they catch the SOB quickly and you can recover the computer before it is fenced.

    I too extend my sympathy.

  3. Wed 02nd Jul 2008 at 10:10 pm

    I am so very sorry to hear about this event my friend. All I can say is that I will be praying for you daily, and that I’m available to help you in any way I can from afar. Whatever you need. Try to find some serenity in knowing that forensics are on your side and most importantly, no one was hurt.

  4. Bill Satterlee
    Wed 02nd Jul 2008 at 10:20 pm

    I can only add my sympathy to those above. We have lost a few of our retail locations to fire and floods but that cannot begin to compare with losing the heart and soul of your operation.

    I pray that you recover quickly and some greater good comes from the terrible experience.

  5. Wed 02nd Jul 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Eric,

    No amount of beer that can assuage a situation like this. There’s enough aggravation in life as it is without having some crack-head include you into his pathetic world.

    I hope your computer is recovered and that the thief meets some sort of hilariously ironic and remarkably uncomfortable justice at the hands of:

    a. sodomite hillbillys on crystal meth
    b. trouser invading nano cannibals
    c. Amazonian genitalia borers

    or

    d. 20 years with selected ex-spouses.

    Otherwise, I wish your business a speedy recovery and you some peace of mind, and perhaps several cold ones, just in case they help.

    Seriously

    Mannie

  6. Dave Powell
    Thu 03rd Jul 2008 at 6:39 am

    Eric,

    what a bitch. I once had a close shave with losing data like that, enough to scare the crap out of me. There ways to set up auto backup, and places that will do auto off-site back-up. I would suggest that you look into them and see if they are feasible, because this kind of exposure sucks immensly.

    Dave

  7. Thu 03rd Jul 2008 at 6:43 am

    Eric,

    I offer the addition of my sympathy to this list of comrades. Mannie has pretty much covered all the best fates for the scum that invaded your world.
    I am very sorry to learn of this loss and I will keep you in my thoughts with hopes that your machine will be recovered. Stand tall.

  8. dan
    Thu 03rd Jul 2008 at 8:31 am

    eric,
    i am so sorry to hear about this nightmare you’re going through.
    i hope it gets resolved quickly, and i hope the local cops will find these dirtbags that committed this crime. what a nightmare.
    best regards,
    dan

  9. Tom Canfield
    Thu 03rd Jul 2008 at 8:56 am

    Eric,

    Sorry to hear of the break in and loss of the fundimental tools of your business. I have been robbed only once and the sting of it still lingers today. Hopefully they can track down the scum quickly before some hacker decides to go on an excursion through your system. Hang in there and like others here have offered, if you need anything… give me a shout.

    Tom

  10. Thu 03rd Jul 2008 at 11:22 am

    Eric

    That’s awful. I am really sorry to hear it.

    CARBONITE. CARBONITE. CARBONITE.

    $4.95/month, unlimited backup automatic, encrypted off site. One of our computers crashed, and within 24 hours we had ALL the files back in exactly the same place on a new computer. Back up on cd-roms I will never, ever have to do again.

    http://www.CARBONITE.com. Tell them i referred you and you can get a couple months free, I think.

    Best Regards,

    tps
    Theodore P. Savas
    Savas Beatie LLC
    989 Governor Drive, Suite 102
    El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
    916.941.6896 (Voice)
    916-941.6895 (Fax)
    http://www.savasbeatie.com

    Join us online for some publishing blogspeak at
    http://www.savasbeatie.blogspot.com and http://savasbeatiemarketing.blogspot.com/

  11. Drew W.
    Thu 03rd Jul 2008 at 11:37 am

    I heard that company freezes you and sends you to Jabba the Hut.

  12. Thu 03rd Jul 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Sorry Eric. 🙁 When I was in law school, some creep broke into my car through the window and stole several CDs and my Professional Responsibility / Ethics casebook.

  13. Thu 03rd Jul 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Jenny,

    Broke into your car and stole an ethics book?!

  14. Thu 03rd Jul 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Eric,

    What a horrible feeling. Not that it compares at all in degree but I know that sinking feeling from when our car was burglarized this winter.

    Does your business insurance include business interruption or important papers coverage? It won’t help with the frustration and annoyance but it can certainly help defray the cost.

  15. Thu 03rd Jul 2008 at 3:46 pm

    Thanks, guys. I really appreciate it. This has, obviously, been a miserable experience, but I’ve learned from it, too.

    Mannie, I am especially fond of your list of potential penalties and wholeheartedly endorse it. Since one of the Neanderthals left a lovely full thumbprint behind, I’m hoping that at least one of them becomes intimately acquainted with the prison system sooner than later.

    Thanks again. The smiles help.

    Eric

  16. Fri 04th Jul 2008 at 5:52 pm

    I don’t know what to say other than that that really sucks and that I hope everything works out.

  17. Karl
    Sun 06th Jul 2008 at 12:59 am

    Eric

    Well that Sucks!

    So sorry to hear this.
    Please keep us informed as to the fingerprint.
    Bastards.

  18. Valerie Protopapas
    Sun 06th Jul 2008 at 6:58 am

    Your plight reminds me of a similar story. T. E. Lawrence of Arabia fame, hand wrote the original of his (very large) book, The Seven Pillars Of Wisdom. Needless to say, there was only one copy. When Lawrence arrived in London to meet with his publisher, he left the work in his car. It was stolen. He never got it back and had to sit down and right it all again. Since the first draft was never seen again, one must assume that the thief, disappointed at finding nothing but a lot of handwritten pages in the package he stole simply disposed of it.

    It is through adversity that we advance, I suppose, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t want to shoot the s.o.b. who gave you that opportunity.

  19. Brian S.
    Mon 07th Jul 2008 at 8:54 am

    Eric,

    I was on Vacation last week and didn’t have access to a computer. I know the violation feeling. My car was broken into about two years ago and they stole my radio; they just hacked the dash right up and ripped it out. The inside of my car was thrown all over the street. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had that happen to you too. My brother is in I.T. and he’s heard good things about Carbonite. Brian

  20. toby
    Thu 10th Jul 2008 at 10:13 am

    Thomas Carlyle found one day that the maid had used the unpublished, only existing manuscript of “History of the French Revolution” to light the fire. No disks in those days. It could be worse. You’re still alive and healthy.

    Commiserations.

  21. Jeff Anderson
    Sun 13th Jul 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Eric:
    From my own past experience, I have learned that if the same burglar, that same night, broke into the house of a Columbus, Ohio Policeman, and stole that officer’s badge and duty handgun, then you might get some attention to that fingerprint. Mostly, you will get a official police report that you are supposed to use to make an insurance claim.

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