This is a very attractive two-story brick building with lots of glass, located in an upscale business park. But you wouldn’t have guessed it that morning.
Sometime during the night, thieves shattered one of the side glass doors. Apparently they had scoped out the building and realized the security system extended only to the locks. There were no sensors on the glass doors or windows so the alarm did not go off when they broke in.
The robbers proceeded to violently enter the offices of two tenants. Fortunately, we weren’t one of them.
I say “violently” because they took an axe to one of the wooden doors and literally chopped out the area around the lock. With the other office, they used that same axe or another strong instrument to break the glass door.
Expensive new computers and electronic equipment were the apparent targets. The thieves likely cased the building in advance and selected these offices. They both have glass entries so a lot of their equipment is clearly visible to anyone walking by.
Even though my company’s office was spared, I still felt violated.
I immediately recalled the time three years ago when a different thief boldly entered my office while I was in the ladies room and stole my wallet. It felt creepy to know my movements had been watched.
When you’re a law-abiding citizen and play by the rules, it’s more than unsettling to experience the effects of these kinds of criminal behavior.
It’s a violation of basic trust. Not just concern about thieves breaking in, but also questioning the integrity of the owner of our building. Why hadn’t he taken measures to secure the windows and doors since there was so much glass? Why weren't there security cameras inside and outside the building to record movement after hours?
I was reminded how fragile trust is in relationships.
A single act of betrayal can destroy years of trust-building. The building’s glass was shattered in just a few minutes. The effects of lying, cheating or infidelity can be just as instantly devastating, whether it’s a personal or professional relationship.
I think it’s appropriate to feel outrage about robbery and other violent crimes, and I certainly want to see justice done.
But this incident also forced me to take a hard look at my own motives and behavior, to make sure I act with integrity in the way I live my life.
How about you?
"The toughest thing about the power of trust is that it's very difficult to build and very easy to destroy." - Thomas J. Watson, Sr., American business leader (1874-1956)