We've had a new neighbour move in next door, she has 2 small boys, one is a similar age to mine. She seemed really nice and over the weekend had asked to use my phone as her gas hadn't been turned on yet and she needed to call the gas company. I invited her in and she sat on my sofa using my iPhone to call them but she couldn't get through. I felt sorry for her, it's not what you need when you have young children and it was crazy that the gas hadn't been turned on for her.
I should have found it a bit strange that I got a text from her an hour later asking if this was my number... so she must have called her own phone from mine.. a phone she said she didn't have. I assumed she just didn't have any credit at the time or something. Example 1 of me being too trusting!
The next day she asked to use my phone again and the same thing happened, she was on hold a lot and was fretting that she needed to get hot water sorted soon. I had problems with my boiler a few months back and our gas man came out and sorted it straight away as I was an emergency case as I had a small child. I thought this would be the same for her. I didn't question it too much though, maybe there was some kind of mix up. Example 2...
By this point we had discussed our children and been generally chatty so I just saw her as a friendly neighbour. I was actually quite excited to have a new 'mum friend' that seemed down to earth. She came to borrow a lighter off Sam while I was out a couple of times and was always chatty when we saw her outside. She had a lot of questions about the building, where the bins were etc but we put it down to her not being informed when she moved in.
As much as I liked her I was getting a bit sick of her knocking so much. There was friendly and then there was too friendly. So yesterday I spent a great deal of the day out of the house. Shortly after I returned she was at my door again. She needed the phone as the gas man had been but it was now not working again. I quickly looked for my iPhone but I couldn't see it (turns out it was on my bed) so handed her the home phone instead. She called a number and made a comment that she 'knew all these numbers off by heart now!' and while on hold she started talking about a pair of shoes she had seen me wearing the other day. I told her they were only cheap New Look ones and she asked if she could see them. I went out of the room to get them and she did the general chat that most people do about how she could never walk in them. She then asked if a picture on the wall behind me was of me wearing them and I told her they were different ones and she asked where the picture was done and I went off on one about how Sam and I used to work together in a photography studio. This is my problem, I talk too much!
After being on hold for so long she hung up and said she might just phone her friend who is an engineer and get him to do it and bill the landlord later. She then called him (another number she must have known off by heart), had a really short conversation of "Hi its Gemma, can you come round, thanks" and told me he would be half an hour. She then asked if she could have a drink of water before she left. I found this a bit strange as she lives about 3 steps away from me! But I got her a drink which she took 2 gulps of and then left. She was really pleasant and I thought nothing of it.
....That was until I was tidying up and I noticed my handbag which was on the sofa and it was now very light as my purse was now missing from it...
A little shaken, I called Sam and we were pretty sure she had nicked it. It all added up, she was distracting me while she took it, my handbag was right next to her on the sofa. I cancelled my cards and Sam left work to come home and try and work out a plan of action.
When he got in we decided that going in and flat out accusing her wasn't going to go down well and we didn't want to get the police involved just yet. Part of me was thinking 'well maybe I dropped it when I was out'. I just didn't want to believe it. But all the signs pointed to her. I remembered at one point she said "oh look it's starting to rain now" and I looked out the window and it wasn't. Sam looked through the last calls on the home phone and it turned out she hadn't dialled any numbers at all while she was in here! I looked through my iPhone to see who she'd called the last few times she'd been in and it was either herself or random numbers that didn't work.
It was definitely her.
Sam went in to talk to her. He was a total hero, he told her how he was a security analyst and that we have lots of gadgets in our place that keep track of the goings on inside. He used a lot of technical terms to explain to her how a piece of software downloads videos to his phone but it takes a while so it was in the process of moving over now and then he'd be able to watch the footage. He told her how my purse was missing and although he wasn't accusing her of anything, with the phone now having any calls made from it he would have to tell the police when they came and they would probably want to talk to her as it was suspicious. He told her he didn't want to get any police involved and cause any friction between us and that we all have moments of madness and do things we regret. She was really nice and said she hadn't seen it but she was taking the bins out in a bit so she would have a look outside.
Sam thanked her and came back in. We heard her door open as he was telling me what happened and then after a while she knocked and asked Sam to come and look out of her window, she pointed outside and said "is that it? ...I knew you said it was purple" and there was my purse outside, nowhere near anywhere I'd been that day! I definitely hadn't dropped it. Sam said thanks and made a comment that the fairies must have moved it and she laughed.
Everything was in there minus the £8 I had in it. When Sam was in her place he noticed she had pretty much no furniture so if this was to feed her kids I don't feel as bad, but if it's for anything else frankly she's a scumbag! It could be that her furniture could be coming over the next few days, I know that we had to wait for a lot of the big things when we moved in to our last place. It's either that or she really does have no money.
I have complete mixed feeling about it all. I feel so stupid that I let this happen under my nose! Only I could be distracted by my own shoes! I just feel like my trust has been ruined yet again. I was just starting to trust people again after what my best mate did and now this happens.
But this goes to show, you really let your guard down when you are in your own home so I've definitely learnt to be more careful! You hear of these things happening to the elderly but it can happen to anyone.
I'm just glad I got it all back. It's annoying that I cancelled all of my cards (and requested a new Boots card -priorities!) But everything is in there, even a few gift cards that I hadn't used from when I got them at Christmas. She clearly just wanted the money.
I'm still in two minds whether I feel sorry for her and her kids or I'm just angry at her. But I'm hoping this means she won't be knocking at my door any time soon.