By: Bradley Scharf
Back as a child in elementary school when homework was non-existent, I used to hang out with my friend Austin after school everyday. We would usually spend most of our time outside. From reasons we always ended up at his house. Austin’s mom worked part-time, so his brother Matthew watched us for some of the days during the week. Matthew was in High School at this point in time. He honestly didn’t care what we did as long as we didn’t bother him. Most of the time we played basketball and road bikes in the driveway out front.
Austin lived in a pretty quiet neighborhood, where there wasn’t too much cut through traffic. I remember the day like it was yesterday. We were riding bikes in the driveway and an old beat up minivan stopped in front of the house across the street. We didn’t think twice about it at first. After about ten minutes the car drove away. About a half an hour later the same car drove by the house again, but this time very slowly and it again continued to pass Austin’s driveway. Now we were getting a little suspicious.
Austin’s house was situated up on a big hill. We walked all the way up to side of his house and caught a glimpse of the minivan stopped at the corner of the street. We started freaking out and ran screaming to Matthew. Matthew had told us that we were just being babies and assured us that nothing was wrong. We decided to stop playing outside. About an hour later while we were watching television in Austin’s room, we saw the minivan pull up in front of the house again. The back window was halfway down and we could see a man taking pictures. This time we had proof that there was something sketchy going on and we ran to get Matthew and show him, but before he came back to see it, the car was gone. We were so freaked out by this; Austin called his Mom crying hysterically and told her what had happened. Matthew said to her that he didn’t see anything. She still came home right away to make sure everything was okay. We never saw the minivan again.
The next day, Austin’s Mom had a day off from work. Austin and I were in school until three o’clock. Usually we took the bus home together to his house, but instead my Mom picked us up from school that day. My Mom worked full-time so it was extremely unusual for my Mom to pick us up. We were taken back to my house and were told that an incident had occurred but that everyone was all right.
Around noon that day, Austin’s Mom answered the front door of their house after the bell rang. A man in a suit with a construction hat saying National Grid on it, holding a clipboard had been standing at the door. National Grid is the gas company for Long Island. He said he had to read the meter to make sure everything was up to date and that she wasn’t being overcharged. Austin’s Mom brought the man down to the basement to show him the gas meter. The gas meter was in the boiler room. As she opened the door to the boiler room, the man pushed her in to the room and somehow was able to lock the door using a chair, wedging it under the doorknob. The man then ran upstairs and stole all her jewelry and bags. Austin’s Mom tried to break down the door, but she couldn’t because it was an extra thick door for fireproof safety. Luckily the alarm system panel was located in the boiler room and she was able to set off the alarm and have the police come. When the police came, they had to break down the front door and before they could find her locked in the boiler room.