Westfield’s own ‘wet bandits’ strike


As I write this, it’s snowing and I have spent much of my day on the couch watching terribly predictable made-for-TV Christmas movies. I had a planned vacation day, so being snowed in on my couch is not making me sad.

Yes, I know these movies are not exactly award-winners, and that is just fine by me. They are an escape, a fairy tale, if you will. I have never been a Disney-princess fairy tale kind of person, but I’m a sucker for a feel-good plot. Do I know that the big city executive who is forced to visit a failing Vermont business to shut it down right before Christmas is going to fall in love with the plant manager and help turn business around and quit to stay in the quaint little town? Yes, I do. Do I watch anyway? Yes, I do.

These kinds of movies just make me feel . . . happy. And isn’t the motto for the year “2020: Do what makes you happy”?

My favorite Christmas movies are “Christmas Vacation,” “Elf,” and “A Christmas Story.” And, of course, “The Year without Santa Claus” is high on my list — I love me some Heatmeiser. “Home Alone” is still a favorite, along with “Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas” and our new family favorite is “Christmas Chronicles.”

For my daughter, Christmas movies mean Harry Potter. For many, it means “Die Hard.” Recently a friend posted on social media that his wife asked him to watch a Christmas movie with her and when he asked what she had in mind, she said “Goodfellas.”

Whatever makes you happy, right?

Ironically, my son and I watched “Home Alone” the night before Westfield’s police chief sent out a robo-call alerting residents to a rash of vehicle break-ins. I was a victim of one of those break-ins, although I discovered the perpetrator(s) didn’t have to break anything because apparently, I had left my car unlocked. In my defense, my car remote battery was low and I didn’t realize when I clicked the lock button that it did not work.

When I went out to my car the next morning, my passenger door was ajar and my glove box and console storage were both open. Since I always lock my car, my first thought was that my husband was looking for something in a rush before he left for work and didn’t shut the door all the way. When he said it wasn’t him, I realized what had happened. Then, my next-door neighbor said his car had also been broken into. Nothing was missing from my car, but he was missing loose change and earbuds.

It felt very intrusive and my husband immediately moved around some security cameras to focus on the driveway. From my experience covering thefts over the years, I knew they wouldn’t be back – most thieves who break into cars are looking for money or items of value they can sell, then they move on.

Having just watched “Home Alone,” I pictured my husband not only installing the cameras but devising some sort of elaborate Kevin McAllister type of contraption to catch the “bandits,” which made the whole experience less scary.

Although I am taking a humorous slant on the situation, I join Chief Valliere in urging all of you to be vigilant in locking your car and house doors and do not leave anything of value in your vehicle, especially around the holidays.

Not all of us are as creative as Kevin McAllister, as determined and physically capable as John McClane or have Joe Pesci on speed dial. What we do have is a very dedicated police force watching out for us, which brings me comfort. We also have each other and, as the other 2020 motto goes, we are in this together.

Have a safe and happy Christmas!




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