Woman remains shaken by burglary

By Jane Stebbins, Pilot staff writer May 14, 2013 10:50 pm

The burglary that took place at an 85-year-old Harbor woman’s house still has her scared witless, she said, even with the passage of two weeks’ time.

The woman, who asked not to be named for fear of her safety, said she woke up in the night to find a man standing in her bedroom doorway. When she began screaming, he ran to the front door — that she had to unlock for him, he was shaking so hard.

“We were standing right next to each other,” she said. “I was shaking, he was shaking. I could have been shot, or killed — or raped. I don’t know.”

He knocked her aside as he fled, but she was uninjured. A friend who owns a gun came over to keep her company that night.

Just the week before, someone had been pounding on her front door at the same hour; when she went to check — armed with pepper spray and her cell phone ready to dial 911 — no one was there.

Since the May 1 incident, she’s taken more security measures at her house by installing motion-detection lights, and she double- or triple-checks door and window locks before leaving the house or going to bed. The intruder had removed a screen from an open window, and stepped on her desk — leaving a footprint — to gain access to her house.

“I don’t sleep at night,” she said. “I have lights on in the house. I have taken a lot of extra security measures. I’ve taken all these extra security measures, but I still can’t sleep at night.”

The Harbor resident is well aware of the fiscal challenges facing the Sheriff’s Office; budget cuts have dramatically increased the time it takes to get a deputy response to the south end of the county. 

The elderly woman said she was greatly relieved when Dep. John Ensley responded to her house from his in a matter of minutes to calm her down and assess the situation. He returned the following morning to offer assistance, as well.

“I’m out there in the middle of the road, on the landline calling 911, on my cellphone calling my man friend, beating the hell out of the wall of our (park) manager’s unit, screaming my head off and no one — no one — was responding,” she said. “That’s when I said, ‘You’re on your own, dear.’”

She realizes the entire community could also be on its own if the tax levy measure fails May 21, she said. She declined to say how she’s already voted, but noted she “sees the worth and need” for public safety funding.

Deputy Ensley; he’s really caring,” she said. “He really calmed me down. I was petrified. I want everyone in Curry County to know what very special people we have to take care of us.”

In the meantime, it’s been two weeks, and the woman still can’t sleep at night.

She knows the man’s still out there, and she’s not someone prone to paranoia. She’s a retired psychologist who has worked with criminals — and knows their mindsets.

“He’s clean, clean-shaven, a nice haircut, clean white T-shirt,” she said. “So he has a place to take a bath and shave. He’s clean, he’s walking — so he probably doesn’t have a car. He’s still in the area.”