Exiting Thief of the Night

That’s right, it’s one letter short of exciting :)

Allow me to start on a light note as I relate my harrowing experience with my room-sharing landlord.  Just like in an action movie, I’ll begin with the main thriller that inspired the title…

A man was at the exit door, running away with his both hands hidden in his belly, where I can’t see both from where I stand…

I find it strange that both his hands were hidden from my view.  Normally, as you open the door, your other hand would be visible from the back by your hip.  At that point, I sensed something was wrong but I didn’t knew exactly yet.  Before I go on, let me re-start from the time I receive his call that early evening.

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It was exactly 1815 from my cellphone when he called.  I was then waiting for the apartment’s caretaker whom I called earlier for viewing of available units. My roommate who called, as I expect, was asking for the month’s rent in advance.  My plan was to pay and stay for a month before I take my own place at the apartment building.

After few minutes, I saw the caretaker, we chatted a little and we go inside the building.  He first shown me the 1 bedroom which was upstairs, then we go downstairs to see the bachelor’s room. 

The 1 bedroom apartment was 850$/month while the bachelor’s was not sure at that point.  He said another person from the office knows the exact price.  As we go out of the room into the lobby, we met the office lady who told us the exact price was 800$/month for the bachelor’s unit.  We got back at the bachelor’s unit, I asked for copy of the contract but she said she only gives it when ready to sign.

I asked about requirements and was told just 1.5 months first payment, the half month being the safety deposit.  Following payments would be monthly. I wrote this details just to share idea on cost of apartment rentals here in Richmond, British Columbia.

I was actually delaying my going home as I don’t feel like giving the money.  Somehow I wish I could take my own unit already but I can’t afford just yet.

When I got home, I was met by my room-sharing landlord and as I expected, immediately asked for payment.  In fairness, he quickly wrote in a paper using a pencil the receipt for the money.  As I checked the paper, he just wrote 320$.  I asked him to correct it as he already borrowed from me 20 and 10 for total $350 given to him.  He just overwrote the amount with the correct value and gave it back to me.

I put the paper receipt in my leather case notebook, which I always bring with me as I put my Playbook tablet on it, together with my money and passport.  I then put the notebook in my laptop bag and I was left alone in the room as my roommate has gone away.

Expecting another roommate in 2 days, I brought my bed out of the room into a corner of our living room.  I felt bad bringing my bed out of the room.  I actually have 2 more nights to stay at the room as my new roommate is coming May 02.  I decided to get on with it though.

I move a bit the small table with big TV to give more space for my bed.  I was able to have some space for the bed but there’s no privacy as it is all open to the living room.  I tried to cover it with the long table that I have and it looked good, at least a bit of cover when I lie down.

When I got things arranged, my roommate arrived with his girlfriend.  He showed her the room that I vacated, chatted a little in there and they walked out leaving me alone again.  She asked me if I’m fine as she left, I replied I’ll be fine.  And out they go.

I lied down on my bed and browsed the internet with my tablet to entertain myself.  Sometimes I glanced at the open TV to watch the show.  Then my landlord got back.  We did a little rearrangement to give the corner a little more privacy.  We put one of the sofa at the end of my bed where my place won’t be accessible anymore from the area where we watch TV.

After a few words, he started borrowing money from me.  I told him I’m not giving him anymore money tonight as as just gave him a month and a week advance payment.

He kept asking me money, got mad, shouted that he paid a lot of bills and that the money I gave him, he paid to the apartment.  That I told him I don’t believe as it was late at night already, like 10pm.  But he told me there’s a dropbox that you can just drop your payment.  I still don’t believe that and he kept asking for money.

He’s getting abusive in his language, asked me to walk with him to the bank to withdraw money for him.  He kept saying bad words, he’s telling me I’m lazy for not walking with him to the bank.

I told him no, I only have $5 in my pocket and that’s all I have.  I told him I’m living on credit card.  I beg him to stop and give me peace for the night.  But he just kept asking for his money.

He got more violent that he kicked the small chair.  The small chair have wheels so it hit the wall rather hard, destroying the heater cover.  He immediately put back the heater cover but it seems to me it was damaged and needs repair.

imageGetting nowhere borrowing money, he said I have to pay him for breaking something inside the room.  I told him I am not aware of any breakage.  He told me he’ll show me so we got inside the room and he showed me the curtain which originally had some defects.  I told him nothing’s wrong with the curtain and that it was originally like that.

I begged him to stop asking for money as I am not giving any tonight, having already given him advanced money and having gone through the depressing moment of getting out of my room.  He kept on asking and cursing so I asked him if he wants me to go.  He said I can stay but he kept asking for money and getting more irrational and rather more violent.  I then told him I’ve to go.  I put some of my stuff out of the room.  He said I don’t have to go, somehow mellowed.  As I put back my stuff though, we’ve gone through the same ordeal again.

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He told me that I have to pay for the keys, which he charged my other roommate.  I told him no, it was already included in my rent and he did not specify it before.

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He said I’ve to pay for his toilet papers, which he said I used a lot.  Reeaallllly???  Nice try on a stinky angle but I said no, I don’t use your toilet paper as I have my own stuff.

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He said I’m so stubborn.  That’s not the first time I heard that but that’ll be another story.  What I had in mind then was like: ‘Yeah right, and I should just walk with you to the bank, give you money every time you asked for it’.  I’m actually just standing my ground not giving to his extortion as I knew he will just be up to no good if I give in.  Besides, I also want him to know that he can’t just have money from anyone anytime he wants.

He’s getting more irrational as we go on.  He asked if haven’t he been good to me.  He said he need money as he will go early morning tomorrow for work.  I told him I just gave you money, you should’ve thought of that before you spent what I gave you.

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He said "give me your computer" then he go to my bed where my Playbook tablet and smartphone are.  I went ahead of him and grabbed my tablet together and my cellphone and my HP leather covered notepad.  My notepad I was actually protecting as my passport and money was on it.  I put the tablet inside the case and he’s all eyes on the notebook case as I put it inside my laptop bag.

For that, I finally decided to move out.  I put my stuff outside the apartment.  I somehow sensed his bad intention, so I kept an eye on him as I kept putting my stuff outside of the room.

I put my big luggage outside of the apartment and beside it my laptop bag.  I felt like carrying my laptop bag as I can sense his interest for it.  It would be cumbersome to have my bag with me though, as I still have other stuff to bring outside of the apartment.  I also didn’t believe that he will take it out of my bag.  What I did was cover my laptop bag with plastic bags to hide it from plain sight.

I see to it that he’s always within my range but somehow, he managed to sneak out of the room without me noticing him.  As I go out to put more stuff outside, that’s where I saw him running away at the exit door.

Again as earlier mentioned, I thought something’s wrong but I don’t know exactly yet. Then I saw my laptop bag open, that’s where it came to my mind that he must’ve taken away my tablet, which he tried to grab earlier.  I can’t help but say "Oh my God!" rather many times.

I checked my bag somehow hoping he just took the tablet. I was hoping my notepad is left behind because my passport and money, that could be around $150 plus maybe U$50, are in there.  Unfortunately, by the time I figured out what was missing, he was already long gone and I can’t catch up with him anymore.

I knocked at the door whom I know was people from my home country.  I was so relieved they immediately opened the door, I guess they must’ve sensed the commotion already.  They gave me big black plastic bags and told me to put my stuff in there.  It was great help just to have such help in such time of disaster.

I also called my ‘best man’ for help, which readily replied and told me to just wait for him.  It was then 2256 as registered in my cellphone.

Then I remember I used to put my wallet in my laptop bag too.  I thought he must’ve run away with it.  Such a relief finding my wallet in my pocket, thank God I didn’t put in in my laptop bag that time.  Otherwise, he could’ve run away with it too as the laptop zipper where I put it was also open.

I thought of calling the police as I’m concerned of my passport.  I called the apartment number first though, as I’ve earlier just called them and I got their number.  At that time, I’m not sure if I need to call 911.

After a few minutes when most of my stuff are outside, my best man friend arrived.  We checked the room and took some paperworks to know more about my thief-of-the-night roommate.

We put my stuff into my friend’s CRV then drove home.  We checked the papers and when I get all the information I that might be needed before calling the police.

imageI called the RCMP number as searched from the internet using my netbook.  I was promptly answered and was told a unit will drop by.  After a few minutes, I received a call from the police asking for buzzer number but I told them I’ll just go down.  As I arrived at the lobby, I saw 2 young policemen, they were very polite and professional, asked me about my complaint so I told them of the stolen tablet, notepad with my money and passport on it.  They advised me not to deal with strangers or people that do drugs.

imageThe policemen told me they’ll do their best to recover my stuff and that they will go to the room now and will call me back.  Indeed after like 30 minutes, I received their call saying the room is open and that nobody is around.  That I already knew.  Then the policeman asked me if I want to see the place, I told him I don’t see the need for that as I know he won’t be coming back until 6am as he said he’ll be going to work then.  I am not sure but I think I’ve mentioned that on May 2, another roommate would be coming to occupy the room.

Then it occurred to me that my Playbook has much of my internet accounts.  So I’ve to get up again, open my now clunky but very reliable HP Netbook and changed the password of my emails, FaceBook, etc…

That night naturally I hadn’t slept at all.  The day after, I was like a zombie at the office, wondering how I’d survive the day.  I did though, thank God for getting me through that night and day after.  Was rather helpful of my officemate giving me few words of Russian wisdom: "What didn’t kill you will make you stronger".

I ask myself if I am afraid or angry of the person, I think I’m over it.  If there’s anything, I don’t want my tormentor to be punished, neither do I want him to be dependent on drugs, especially to the point of doing bad things, losing friends and ruining his life.

It took another day for me to figure out how it could be:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 NIV

I‘d say "Amen!" to that.  Now I’m in a place where I can sleep well, not worrying that anytime, somebody would rob me or do bad things to me.  I don’t have to put up with being called very early in the morning just to be asked for money.  I don’t have to put a chair on my room’s door, worrying that when I’m asleep, I’ll be ransacked, hurt or worse, even killed.

In my 10 days of stay in the place, I once felt of the attempt to open the door, making the chair effective in stopping the entry. Many times I could hardly sleep as I’ve to watch the door, worried that’ll he’ll ransack the place or hurt me while I’m asleep.  One time in the middle of the night, I heard banging on the door.  I wished it wasn’t for us but it was him, getting back from who knows where.  So I’ve to force myself to get up and open the door, shivered in the cold of midnight.  Once in, all I got was a "get back to bed" order.

Now I don’t have to put up with such ordeal.  Now I have peace and quite and can blog as much as I need to.  And I guess that’s about most of what I can say.

Now it’s your turn.  Any feedback below would be appreciated, especially if it’ll lead towards recovering my stuff, even just my passport as who else would need it other than crooks, eh?  Not counting on that but would be very grateful if I get my stuff back. How to say? keeping my fingers crossed?

In respect of privacy, personal information are blurred for public display.  Should it be needed in private for safety or other good purposes, you can request me so I could send details in private.

Take care and hear from you…

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7 thoughts on “Exiting Thief of the Night

  1. rizalyn bataculin amar says:

    i just want to share what i have read in “our daily bread” it says, safety is not the absence of danger but in the presence of the Lord.

  2. jose cabanes says:

    What a HORRIBLE experience!!!!!…can you put some more pressure to your landlord for he has the obligation to properly screen would be tenants for the best interest of the residents particularly on safety matters? Hope you can still recover your important items…on the other hand, try to reflect on the saying, “everything has a purpose”.

    • I’ve already done that, reported to the building authorities. Might even elevate to court, just for public safety because if I won’t do it, he’ll just keep doing his ugly business. We’ll see, will keep you posted on this. Thanks for the idea…

  3. Thanks for the nice blog. It was very useful for me. Keep sharing such ideas in the future as well. This was actually what I was looking for, and I am glad to came here! Thanks for sharing the such information with us

  4. Hon says:

    I hope by writing your “adventure” is a way to let it go out of your system. Everything will be returned to you 100x fold…see you soon…Sent you the link in fb of coursera

    • Out of my system yet easily recalled, as details are written. In case we escalate into court, I can just read my blog. Already told the police of my blog, I’m they believe my story, I share their frustration in our system giving more protection to the wrong people :(

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